10 World Class Cellists and Their Remarkable Instruments

The world of classical music has been graced with many exceptional cellists who have shaped the genre with their unique talents and extraordinary instruments. In this blog post, we will explore the stories of the top 10 cellists and the remarkable instruments that have contributed to their fame and success.

1. Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma is a world-renowned cellist, born in France to Chinese parents, and raised in the United States. He has an incredibly diverse repertoire, spanning from classical to contemporary music. Ma is known for playing a Montagnana cello from 1733 and the "Davidov" Stradivarius cello from 1712, which was previously owned by Jacqueline du Pré.

2. Jacqueline du Pré

Jacqueline du Pré was an English cellist whose extraordinary talent and emotive performances earned her a place among the greatest musicians of her time. She played the "Davidov" Stradivarius cello from 1712 before Yo-Yo Ma, as well as a Guarneri cello and a Francesco Goffriller cello. Tragically, du Pré's career was cut short due to multiple sclerosis.

3. Mstislav Rostropovich

Mstislav Rostropovich was a Russian cellist and conductor, considered one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. He played the "Duport" Stradivarius cello from 1711 and a Matteo Goffriller cello from 1733. Rostropovich was not only known for his outstanding musicianship, but also for his commitment to human rights and freedom of expression.

4. Pablo Casals

Pau Casals, also known as Pablo Casals, was a Spanish cellist, composer, and conductor. He is often regarded as one of the finest cellists in history. Casals played a Goffriller cello from 1733 and a Testore cello from 1700. He is also known for his discovery and popularization of J.S. Bach's six suites for unaccompanied cello.

5. Gregor Piatigorsky

Gregor Piatigorsky was a Russian-born American cellist, considered one of the finest cellists of the 20th century. He played the "Batta-Piatigorsky" Stradivarius cello from 1714 and a Montagnana cello from 1739. Piatigorsky was a prolific performer and teacher, inspiring generations of cellists.

6. Steven Isserlis

Steven Isserlis is a British cellist known for his diverse repertoire and deep commitment to music education. He plays the "Marquis de Corberon" Stradivarius cello from 1726, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music. Isserlis is an advocate for historical performance practices and has written extensively on the subject.

7. Mischa Maisky

Mischa Maisky is a Latvian-born Israeli cellist with a powerful and emotional playing style. He plays a Domenico Montagnana cello from 1720. Maisky has recorded and performed with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors, earning a reputation for his passionate performances.

8. Truls Mørk

Truls Mørk is a Norwegian cellist celebrated for his deep and insightful interpretations of the cello repertoire. He plays a Domenico Montagnana cello from 1723. Mørk has a diverse repertoire, performing both classical and contemporary works, and has premiered several compositions written specifically for him.

9. Gautier Capuçon

Gautier Capuçon is a French cellist known for his powerful, expressive performances and charismatic stage presence. He plays a Matteo Goffriller cello from 1701. Capuçon has established himself as one of the leading cellists of his generation, performing with top orchestras and collaborating with renowned musicians across various genres.

10. Anner Bylsma

Anner Bylsma was a Dutch cellist and one of the pioneers of historically informed performance practice on the cello. He played a Barak Norman cello from 1690 and a 1701 Pieter Rombouts cello. Bylsma was highly respected for his profound understanding of the Baroque and Classical cello repertoire, and his recordings remain influential for both modern and period instrument performers.


Each of these 10 cellists has made a lasting impact on the world of classical music, not only through their extraordinary musicianship but also through their choice of instruments. The unique character and history of each cello have contributed to the rich tapestry of the cellists' performances, leaving an indelible mark on audiences around the world. As we celebrate these exceptional musicians and their instruments, we are reminded of the power of music to transcend time and touch the hearts of listeners across generations.

About the Author

MyLuthier was started by two friends while they were studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The idea was to provide musicians with exceptional instruments at a price they can afford. We travelled Europe in search for the best contemporary makers and we’re proud of our selection and the partnerships we’ve developed.

Published on
Subscribe for Monthly Updates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Explore Fine Antique Instruments
Heritage by MyLuthier

Rare antique instruments, representing both historical significance and unparalleled craftsmanship.

View Instruments
myluthier heritage fine antique instruments