This week we take a break from describing the differences between various items in the shop and focus instead on musicians who inspire us. Here are a few of my cello heroes from when I was a young cellist:
Yo-Yo Ma – my formative years studying the cello were in the 1990’s, and those were some of Yo-Yo’s most prolific recording years. I saw him perform live several times in those years as well, along with being in the audience for masterclasses he taught. His tone on his Montagnana cello is still my personal benchmark for romantic playing.
Mstislav Rostropovich – while he was winding down his performing career in the late 1990’s, his legacy of recordings and his championing of modern music were hugely influential. A highlight of my musical life was hearing him perform the first Shostakovich cello concerto live with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Janos Starker – while one of the finest cellists of any age, his greatest contribution is likely his education and training of generations of cellists. Watching him teach masterclasses was a thrilling experience, even if the cello student playing was often terrified!
Anner Bylsma – baroque performance practice felt like even more of a niche when I was a young cellist than it does now, but hearing Anner perform Haydn with Tafelmusik forever impacted the way I think about performing music from different eras.
Truls Mork – his technical mastery of the instrument being in total service to the music set standards in my mind of how the giants of the repertoire should be played – Dvorak, Elgar, etc.