Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's Cello Day!

A luthier is someone who makes and repairs stringed instruments. We hear the name Antonio Stradivari in the music world. He was an Italian who made something like 1100 stringed instruments in the late 1600s/early 1700s. Another famous Italian luthier is Domenico Mantagnana. He made around 95 instruments in his lifetime, of which only 24 were celli.

One of these Domnenico Mantagnana 1733 celli is owned by cellist Yo Yo Ma. It is 236 years old. Can you imagine playing such an instrument? (Moreover, playing such an instrument and it sounding like...well, like Yo Yo Ma?!) Once Yo Yo Ma was holding a class for younger children, and a little girl asked him what his cello's name was. He replied that he didn't have a name for it, and would she like to think up a name? The girl picked "Petunia", and the nickname has stuck.

The cello Petunia is worth $2.5 million. One can only imagine how Yo Yo Ma felt that day in 1999 when he realized he had left Petunia in the trunk of taxi cab in NYC. Wowee. The nice part of that story is that his cello was recovered and undamaged:


And now I am off to my cello lesson.

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