Kivie Cahn-Lipman, cello

While all the other kids were learning addition in first grade, Kivie Cahn-Lipman was running around the classroom singing that he was a yeti. His kindly teacher said he was very musical, so Kivie was allowed his choice of instruments along with the therapy. He told his parents he wanted to play the drums, so they asked him what instrument he REALLY wanted to play. "The tuba," he replied, and they handed him a violin. In Kivie's first violin lesson, his teacher allowed him to look at but not touch the instrument, and he learned the names of its parts, and he was taught to respect the violin. In his second lesson he was allowed to look at but not touch the instrument, and he learned a little about how to read music, and more about how to respect the violin. In his third lesson he was allowed to touch but not pick up the instrument, and he learned more about reading music, and he was lectured again about respecting the violin. He picked his nose and wiped it on the violin, and then that teacher went away and Kivie's parents gave him a cello. And when he picked his nose and wiped it on the cello, the new teacher was like "ewww gross don't do that, here's a tissue, clean that up and let's play music," and that seemed like a good idea.

Eventually Kivie went to Oberlin and then Juilliard, and after awhile each school gave him a fancy document written in Latin that hopefully indicates that he graduated. He finished up his education at the University of Cincinnati, and he's a doctor now. Not that kind of doctor. Since its founding in 2001, Kivie has been the cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He served on the faculties of Smith College and Mount Holyoke College from 2005–2012, and he now teaches at the College of New Jersey and every summer at the Cortona Sessions for New Music. 

Kivie started his own Baroque ensemble called ACRONYM (the Altmusik Collective Radiating from Oberlin via New York, Mostly,, and he finds long-forgotten music in old manuscripts and transcribes it, and they give the first performances of it in hundreds of years; they've got seven CDs of modern premieres recorded and more on the way. His 2014 solo recording of J.S. Bach's cello suites got a nice blurb in a trade publication called The Strad, but he's way more proud of the warm personal letter praising the disc which he received from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Kivie's mom also liked the recording, and maybe a few other people did too. You can find it on sale wherever you can still find music on sale, and the discs make great coasters.

Also, a recent review in the New York Times noted that "his long, flowing hair often covered his face as he played."  Seriously, the New York Times printed that. Kivie mostly stopped picking his nose in 1985.