Arguably, one could say that Yo-Yo Ma made the cello cool again in the 20th and 21st centuries. Chances are if you had to name a cellist , Yo-Yo Ma would be on your list. As evidence to Yo -Yo Ma’s greatness, the man who made the cello Yo-Yo Ma currently plays, Antonio Stradivari, made many instruments centuries ago that sell now for millions of dollars at auction. So how did Yo-Yo Ma make it so far up? He had humble beginnings but with musician parents, so he did start receiving a musical education at a young age. Yo-Yo Ma continued to become more and more inspired by playing the cello, and slowly worked his way up the ladder the old-fashioned way to be where he is now. Yo-Yo Ma still plays today, working now with Silk Road Ensemble. He has played many concerts worldwide, which are available in many media formats. He has won numerous awards and recognition for his work and continues to inspire aspiring cellists today.
Another famous solo cellist is Julian Lloyd Webber, son and brother of the famous composers William Lloyd Weber and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively. He was bred, raised, and expected to be musically brilliant, and he has made of a career of exceeding even the highest of these expectations. Julian Lloyd Webber is British in origin, and has made many international collaborations and recordings. He plays a world-renowned instrument, the Barjansky Stradivarius cello, made around the year 1690. Besides his concerts and recordings, Julian has made valuable contributions to music education for young adults.
Carlos Prieto is one of the more innovative, diverse cellists of our time. He spends time promoting original work by Latin American composers, and hosts events in his home country of Mexico. Carlos Prieto started his cello studies at the age of four, and has since traveled the world over to play.
Are There Any Female Cellists? Yes, there definitely are! Soo Bae is a young, Korean-Canadian solo cellist who began her cello studies young, at age six. She attended the prestigious Julliard School of Music and at a young age– she’s only 32– she has already won an amazing amount of highly-esteemed awards. Soo Bae travels the world playing a Stradivarius Bonjour cello. She is very active in supporting music in the world arena. She contributes in particular to Christian music and the educational pursuit of all kinds of stringed instruments.
Perhaps the most famous female cellist of all, Jacqueline Mary du Pre dazzled the world with her skill in concert before succumbing to an early death due to complications caused by multiple sclerosis, a progressive, debilitating disease. Her life was so dramatic and interesting it inspired a critically acclaimed 1998 film titled Hilary and Jackie, centered around Jacqueline herself and her sister Hilary. Consider these famous musicians the rock-stars of the cello world.
Ethan Winer; One might ask, “Isn’t this the guy that did the cello video (Cello Rondo) years ago? How can Ethan Winer be added to this list of famous cellist?” Well, Ethan has not reached the famed international performance levels as Yo-Yo Ma or Jacqueline du Pré, however when it comes to the on-line “Cellist community” Ethan is well known for his articles in strings magazine, production of the Bernard Greenhouse Cello Masterclass videos and his cello concerto. Ethan brings a valuable perspective to learning the cello because he learned it as an adult. I was able to interview Ethan and have posted the interview here.