Wytold writes original music on the six-string electric cello inspired by outdoor rock climbing trips, world travel, his background studying philosophy of physics, and his daily work leading music workshops in military hospitals. Using electronic edge alongside acoustic harmonies and double-stop grit, Wytold’s electrified-chamber sound energizes rock clubs as much as it inspires reflective audiences in the concert hall.
Wytold received the 2018 Montgomery County Executive Award for Artistic Excellence, several grants from Montgomery County, the state of Maryland, and the District of Columbia, and the "Best Six-String Electric Cellist" award from the Washington City Paper's 2018 Best Of. His recent projects include scoring the HBO Documentary Film “We Are Not Done Yet”, and releasing a classical hip-hop album "Beats, Bows & Remixes" with GRAMMY-nominated Christylez Bacon at a celebratory show with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Read More about Wytold's recent projects and background...
Background (Downloadable Bio + Photo 1 + Photo 2)
Growing up in northern Virginia with interweaving passions for youth orchestra, powerful guitar solos, Bach cello suites, and popular radio songs from the ‘90s and 2000s, Wytold’s original music celebrates classical technique hand-in-hand with modern grooves, improv, and rhythms of pop, rock, jazz, and world styles.
Wytold (William Wytold Lebing) began private lessons in classical cello repertoire at age 10 and participated in school and regional youth orchestras throughout Northern Virginia, often as principal chair. Wytold always dreamt of going to college to study cello performance but was held back by carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by an over-zealous and technically unsound approach to the instrument. After a 1.5 year hiatus, Wytold reintroduced himself to playing music by learning folk songs on the acoustic guitar. Guitar strumming and finger-picking gradually reintroduced Wytold's fingers and wrists to the motions involved in performing and also instilled a new soul and passion for heart-felt musicianship and the musical experience.
Shortly thereafter, Wytold translated to the cello the techniques he learned on guitar, such as strumming chord progressions, finger-picking, playing improvised solos, and writing songs that incorporate contemporary grooves with a verse-chorus format. Just before receiving two Master's Degrees from Pitt and moving to DC (one in Philosophy, one in History and Philosophy of Science), Wytold taught himself to play the shoulder-strapped six-string electric cello with live-looping. His mathematical studies helped him visualize and manipulate his different cello layers when composing and performing, often inspired by outdoor rock climbing and hiking trips in West Virginia and California. Energized by DC's cultural and musical diversity, Wytold quickly became immersed in many different non-classical collaborations that in turn influence his own playing and compositions, including classical Hindustani, middle eastern percussion, hip-hop, go-go, folk, indie rock, americana, and jazz. Through performance, composition, and education, Wytold continues to learn from and synthesize these various influences while encouraging budding strings musicians to explore non-traditional musical styles and techniques.
Collaborations & Projects
Wytold regularly performs and leads music workshops in military hospitals in the Washington, DC area. In 2017, actor Jeffrey Wright and poet Seema Reza asked Wytold to score a Veteran poetry performance which became the subject of an HBO Documentary Film. Wytold is also a board member of Veteran arts non-profit CBAW.
The National Symphony Orchestra has featured Wytold and Christylez Bacon and performed their original pieces and remixes for 4 years in a row at the Kennedy Center and DC night club Echo Stage.Read More
Christylez Bacon is a GRAMMY-nominated progressive hip-hop artist from Southeast DC. Together, he and Wytold lead "Classical Hip-Hop" educational programs. They released their debut album "Beats, Bows & Remixes" in 2018 with the National Symphony Orchestra.Read More
Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A) is a contemporary dance company whose work features several of Wytold's original compositions. Wytold has composed original scores for 7 of their pieces, including 2 evening-length works, and he has toured nationally with CKM&A to perform his live cello scores.Read More
Talented musicians on a variety of instruments come together to form Wytold's original rock-chamber ensemble, recently featured at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.Read More
The award-winning documentary film "New Chefs on the Block" featured original compositions from Wytold written to reflect the trials and tribulations faced by two highly successful restauranteurs launching new enterprises in Washington, DC.Read More
Joe Merritt is a visual artist who frequently collaborates with Wytold in live-painting performances during Wytold's concerts, leading joint workshops about the relationship between music and art, and leading arts and music workshops for Service Members in military hospitals.Read More
Wytold leads educational workshops and assemblies such as "Music Theory Demystified", "The Science of Sound", as well as "Classical Hip-Hop" performances with Christylez Bacon. He also teaches both traditional classical repertoire and alternative strings techniques for strings players of all levels and instruments.Read More
Wytold was selected to be an Artist in Residence at the Strathmore Performing Arts Center for the 2012-2013 season. During his residency, he gave two sold-out concerts at the Strathmore Mansion, premiered new work and released his second album, "My Regards".Read More
Instrumental Rap Covers and Classical RemixesRead More
Wytold composed and performs the original score for Pōhaku, an evening-length contemporary dance piece by CKM&A about Hawaiian history and culture.Read More
In 2018, Wytold composed an original score for Constellation Theater Company's production of Sara Ruhl's "Melancholy Play" at Source Theater, including live cello accompaniment and two vocal songs for the cast.Read More
Wytold composed his first evening-length dance score for CKM&A's "Limited Visibility", which premiered in 2015. Throughout the work, the performers create intimate spaces on stage using an array of lighting sources they control themselves.Read More
Wytold wrote and performed a live cello score for Woolly Mammoth Theater's acclaimed production of "An Octoroon" in 2017 in collaboration with Christylez Bacon.Read More
A global film collaboration with Gideon Mendel and the UCLA Art & Global Health Center documenting the third decade of the AIDS epidemic. Wytold was commissioned to write scores to the documentary interviews of Washington, DC residents living with AIDS.Read More
The Sundance Award-winning documentary film about a group of children in India infected with HIV. The film features two of Wytold's original songs.Read More