Friday, September 28, 2012

What Cello Are They Playing? Is That A Strad?

Written by: Andy Fein, Luthier at Fein Violins
 & Kevin Berdine

When you hear a great performer, ever wonder "What instrument are they playing? Is it a Strad?" 

If you hear a great solist on violin, chances are good that they will be playing on a Stradivarius or a Guarnerius del Gesu. Not so much with great cellists. Sadly, the great Guarnerius del Gesu never made a cello. And many of Stradivarius' cellos, particularly the cellos he made before 1700, were very large and not particularly well suited to the demands of a modern soloist. All but two of those large pattern Stradivarius cellos have been "cut down" and reworked into easier playing modern instruments.  Luckily, two great Venetians, Montagnana and Gofriller, made great cellos that meet the demands of today's great cellists.

Here is a list of some wonderful cellists and the instruments they play.


1733 Domenico Montagnana-Nicknamed "Petunia" by a student in Salt lake City, Utah.

1712 Antonio Stradivari, "Davidoff"-formerly Jacqueline du Pre's cello

1722 Gofriller-Being played by Valentin Erben

image from Valentin's website

1673 "ex-du Pre/ex-Harrell" Stradivari

1733 Matteo Gofriller, on loan to Amit Peled

1709 "Boccherini/Romberg" Stradivari-now played by Stephane Tetreault

Jacqueline du Pre

c.1696 David Tecchler

1970 Sergio Peresson- now played by Kyril Zlotnikov of the Jerusalem String Quartet

1673 "du Pre," Stradivari-now owned by Nina Kotova

1712 "Davidov," by Stradivari-now owned by Yo Yo Ma

Mstislav Rostropovich

1711 Duport Stradivari
Sergio Peresson

Janos Starker

1696 Lord Aylesford Stradivari-The largest cello made by Stradivari

1705 "Star," by Gofriller

1696 Lord Aylesford Stradivari-The largest cello made by Stradivari

1739 "Sleeping Beauty," by Domenico Montagnana

1725 "Baudiot," by Stradivari

1714 "Batta" Stradivari

Truls Mork

1723 "Esquire" Domenico Montagnana with a Stradivari Scroll owned by SR Bank and Loaned to Mork

Mischa Maisky

Bernard Greenhouse

Purchased by a "Patron of the Arts" & on loan to Stephane Tetreault

1707 "Paganini/Countess of Stanlein" Stradivari

Pierre Fournier

1722 Gofriller

Heinrich Schiff

1711 "Mara" Stradivari

1739 "Sleeping Beauty" Montagnana

Zuill Bailey

1698 "Rosette," by Matteo Gofriller

Emmanuel Feuermann

1730 "Feuermann" Stradivari-known to be relatively slender

Pieter Wispelwey

1760 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini 

1710 Rombouts Baroque Cello

Steven Isserlis

1730 "DeMunck" Stradivari

1745 Guadagnini

Alisa Weilerstein

1790 William Forster

Matt Haimovitz

1710 Gofriller

Anner Bylsma

1695 Gofriller

1701 "Servais" Stradivari

Gautier Capucon

1701 Gofriller 


Raya Garbasouva

Image result for Raya Garbousova
1703 Gofriller

Anthony Ross

1710 Gofriller

Sara Sant'Ambrogio

1715 Gofriller

Daniel Muller-Schott

1727 "Saphir," by Gofriller

Julian Lloyd Webber

1690 "Barjansky" Stradivari

Han-na Chang

1757 Guadagnini

Robert DeMaine

1841 J.B. Vuillaume, a gift from the Cecilia Benner Trust
Joseph Gagliano
Antonio Gragnani

Myung-wha Chung

'Braga' Stradivarius, circa 1731

1787 Perry on loan from the Coburn Foundation

Custom Tina Guo Model Yamaha SVC-200

Are you a cellist or interested in becoming one? Take a look at our Fine Cellos!

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