Who is the greatest cellist of all time?

The cello is a string instrument known for its soulful, singing, almost human voice like sound, and can be found soloing, in chamber music, or as one of the foundation pieces of a symphony orchestra. A number of players have transformed the cello into the solo voice that it is today. But of them, who is the greatest?

Mstislav Rostropovich is the greatest cellist

Rostropovich was a Russian master, who brought a new technical expertise and musicality to the instrument, and new repertoire into the world.

Mstislav Rostropovich premiered the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1

Composer Dimitri Shostakovich wrote the concerto for Rostropovich, who committed it to memory in 4 days.

Yo-Yo Ma is the greatest cellist

A modern player, child prodigy, and humanitarian, Yo-Yo has not only elevated the craft but has taken the cello to the masses.

Yo-Yo Ma is a cross-genre musical explorer

Yo-Yo Ma is famous for his musical explorations outside of classical music, from pop, to tango, to bluegrass, to Asian folk music. This versatility across musical genres makes him the greatest.

Yo-Yo Ma brought classical music to the general public

From appearances at the White House, to Sesame Street Yo-Yo Ma has found ways to reach beyond the classic music world to take his art to the general public.

Pablo Casals is the greatest cellist

The father of modern cello, Casals helped people to see the cello as a valuable solo instrument.

Pablo Casals discovered the Bach cello suites for modern players

Largely forgotten, Casals showed the world the beauty and genius of cello music.

Pablo Casals was a statesman and advocate for peace

Pablo Casals used his musical talents as a platform to address the humanitarian issues of his time. He was bigger than the music he played and connected the peace and joy of music as a way to heal human suffering and injustice.

Jacqueline du Pre is the greatest cellist

A stunning talent who's musicality, ease, and grace with the instrument won over audiences and musicians alike.

Jacqueline du Pre is master of the Elgar Cello Concerto

Her interpretation and performance of the Elgar Cello concerto electrified listeners and defines the piece for other cellists.

Leonard Rose is the greatest cellist

An amazing performer and as a teacher at Juilliard shaped the next generation of modern cellists.

Leonard Rose's teaching established the modern cello

He taught at Juilliard, Curtis, and Meadowmount, with students like Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. The influence of his thinking and playing is everywhere.

Leonard Rose was the principal cellist of two of the world's greatest orchestras

At just 21 and 26, he was the principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Being trusted with such a responsibility at a very young age is a spectacular achievement.

Leonard Rose was part of the celebrated Istomin-Stern-Rose trio

Leonard Rose with Isaac Stern (violin) and Eugene Istomin (piano) formed one of the world's greatest piano trios, celebrated for their playing and winning a Grammy for their Beethoven recordings.

János Starker is the greatest cellist

Known for his pure and intense tone, and opting for the music to excite, Starker was a distinguished professor of music at Indiana University and principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony.

János Starker's musical perfection

Starker believed that much of the performance of music got in the way of the music, like a wide vibrate hiding bad intonation. Starker focused on the music alone.

Gregor Piatigorsky is the greatest cellist

His career was interwoven with so many of the key musical figures and organizations in the 20th century, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the Curtis Institute, to his chamber music.

Gregor Piatigorsky was the cellist for the "Million Dollar Trio"

Piatigorsky regularly played chamber music with Arthur Rubinstein (piano), and Jascha Heifetz (violin), who together were known as the "Million Dollar Trio."
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This page was last edited on Friday, 7 Feb 2020 at 17:26 UTC