Last week left off with me planning to commission a cello from Peter Paul Prier.  I was still playing my 1995 Widenhouse cello and David Forbes bow.  I chose to attend Butler University and attended the Aspen Music Festival the summer before my freshman year.

The cello of Mr. Prier’s I played in Salt Lake City was based on a Montagnana model.  We agreed to make my cello on the same outline and we proceeded with the order.  He completed the cello in the summer of 1997 when I was attending the Aspen Music Festival for the second summer in a row.  I drove from Aspen to Salt Lake City to pick up the cello.  It felt and sounded good when I picked it up and I proudly returned to Aspen with it.  While I thought it was a good cello, I was also young and lacked confidence.  I made the mistake of playing it for someone who had a financial incentive to tell me it wasn’t a good cello.  Deflated, confused, and alone…I drove back to Salt Lake City to return the cello.  In hindsight, I believe Mr. Prier understood what was going on better than I did and agreed to take the cello back.

More than ten years later, I exchanged letters with Mr. Prier before he died.  I treasure those letters and the peace it brought me about that chapter in my cello journeys.  As of the time of those letters, my cello was proudly owned by a musician in Virginia.

What this episode didn’t do was cure me of the desire to see if there was a better cello out there than my 1995 Widenhouse.  Where did I turn?  Right back to Kurt Widenhouse!