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Just in: Cellist is named Miss Universe

We raised a cheer when Olivia Culpo won Miss USA.

Today, she was named Miss Universe. Probably the first cellist ever to hold the title. She’s 20 years old, a student at Boston University.

Now she has a whole new career option.

olivia culpo

photo: Pinterest

olivia2 olivia3p hotos: Olivia’s Fb page

On this video, she she also sings (at 3:30)

And here she appears briefly with cello (some intonation issues):

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  1. Good morning, Norman. Quick correction: Ms. Culpo was Miss USA, which is a separate competition from the Miss America pageant. (Miss America doesn’t feed into the Miss Universe or Miss World systems.)

    True fact: The Miss America pageant actually started as a marketing gimmick by the resort owners and merchants of Atlantic City, New Jersey, who wanted to keep people coming after Labor Day.

    Why do I know these things??

  2. Paula Zahn, the television “talking head,” played the cello as a beauty pageant contestant. Beware, the first 15 seconds are truly cringeworthy as she introduces the tune:

  3. Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

    “…now she has a whole new career option…”
    That’s really good to know, because the cello option was not really there.
    You don’t really need to hear the video, just look at the right and left hands.
    But good luck to her. Maybe she can aspire to be the Katherine Jenkins of the cello ?

  4. “Whole new career option”??? Tongue firmly in cheek I hope!

  5. Let’s be fair – Miss Culpo is making no pretensions about becoming a crossover star, just a model. Cello was just a talent she had to trot out for the pageant.

  6. She plays like a non-music-major college cellist. She’s a bright and beautiful woman who represents a totally underrated segment of our population (here in the US) : people who play music for the love of it.

    Let’s wish her well, and hope that she can use her success to make a case for keeping string programs in schools alive, and to let young string players who aspire to play well but seek other means of employment than a solo career, that there are options. Not everyone has Olivia Culpo’s beauty and brains, and not everyone seeks to succeed in life by way of the pageant route. She is making the most out of what she has.

    I love the clip of her practicing in her room as a young (and not necessarily glamorous) kid. That speaks volumes. I am very proud of that girl, and I am very proud of the woman (and Deans list at BU student) she became. I am proud that “we” (as in people who practice and play stringed instruments) are being represented in a forum that reaches into the mainstream of culture, and am proud of her and her family.

    • Very well said Elaine! Kudos to Olivia too that she has kept up her cello playing to a level where she felt comfortable about playing in front of a live audience on live(?) TV.

    • Well put! I certainly have students who are less serious than she. All the best to her!

  7. Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

    The heading of this posting raises a question (not rhetorical, because I don’t know the answer) what makes someone a cellist, or more generally at what point can someone be given a specific title ?
    Example, I play the piano, not brilliantly, but I can, though I would never call myself “a pianist”, I am just someone who sometimes plays the piano.
    Likewise I drive a car, but I am not “a driver”.
    However, if I murdered someone, I would be “a murderer”, and somehow claiming that I did not murder often, with any great skill, or only as a hobby would not alter this. Likewise, if I risked my life to rescue someone, I would be “a hero” even if I considered it was incidental and had no desire to repeat it.
    One hears people, who have committed some misdemeanor plead “I did that, but I am not a criminal”, “I am not a drunk driver, I just had a few too many”, or Nixon saying “I’m not a crook”. I frequently study, and yet I am not a student.
    And to tread on dangerous ground, whether you like her voice or not , it must be true to say that Katherine Jenkins is a singer, and since she sings operatic works – why is she not an opera singer ?

    The reason I ask is that Norman’s heading “cellist is named Miss Universe” made me think something different from “Miss universe also plays the cello”.
    I think Elaine Fine’s very constructive comments indicated the second interpretation, while my less generous one was coloured by thinking “a cellist” implied more than this.
    Can anyone explain the right way to make this distinction ?

  8. Robert Levine says:

    Lest we forget, Gretchen Carlson of Fox News won Miss America in 1988 partly on the strength of her violin playing. She really was a major league talent; I heard her as an 18-year ol playing Tchaikowsky and it was very impressive. I wish she’d chosen that as a career path rather than shilling for the right wing.

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