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Alexander Ivashkin, cellist


1. Early 19th-century French. Unlabelled.

My first professional instrument was an unlabelled early-19th-century French cello that I bought when I joined the Bolshoi. I used it a lot when I played solos with the orchestra. It's a very fine instrument with a clear, well-projected sound. It also works extremely well in the contemporary repertory and for recital programmes.

for playing modern music, especially Shostakovich, Ivashkin loves the bold, strong sound of his Stradivari copy, made by Bruce Carlson in I9932. Stradivari copy made in 1993 by Bruce Carlson.

In 1993 I bought a Stradivari copy cello made for me by the great American maker Bruce Carlson, who is based in Cremona. He modelled my instrument on a late Stradivari pattern, the 'B' form. It has a very bold, strong sound, so whenever I play anything modern I always use this cello. I like it so much that I subsequently bought several more instruments from Bruce for my pupils and those of my wife.

1710 Giuseppe Guarneri 'filius Andrea', now owned by Bridgewater Trust, Canterbury, New Zealand3. Giuseppe Guarneri cello of 1710, called 'S. Teresie'.

Some years ago Chris Marshall, a devoted supporter of the arts, offered to buy an instrument that I could have on permanent loan from New Zealand's Bridgewater Trust. I tried a number of different instruments at J. & A. Beare in London, and the one I fell in love with was a 1710 Giuseppe Guarneri 'filius Andrea'. It is a beautiful, rather small cello, with a table in spruce, and back, scroll and sides in beech. It is unusual, and yet it produces a wonderful, intimate sound. The more you put into it, the more it rewards you.

The Guarneri cello, side view

4. Yamaha electric cello

My Yamaha electric cello is a commercially available instrument suggested to me by a very old friend, the remarkable cellist David Geringas, initially for silent practice. I've decided to use it for performing the Korndorf Cello Concerto in Moscow. The orchestra is huge in this piece, so the extra amplification comes in really handy.


With Bruce Carlson in Cremona, adjusting the newly made cello

With Bruce Carlson in Cremona, adjusting the newly made cello

With Christopher Marshall, the owner of the Guarneri

With Christopher Marshall, the owner of the Guarneri