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!
Stay tuned for the EXCITING NEXT INSTALLMENT!