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(Photo credit: Julian Riem)

German Cellist Raphaela Gromes to Play on Rare Bergonzi Cello

Expert appraiser Dmitry Gindin identified the instrument after it was found in an attic a decade ago


Cellist Raphaela Gromes received a rare opportunity to play on one of only three surviving instruments by the master maker Carlo Bergonzi, after the instrument was purchased for her by her Italian patrons.

Made in 1740, the instrument was identified by instrument appraiser and Tarisio auction house co-founder Dmitry Gindin, who recognized it almost immediately. The cello had been bought by a collector after it had been found in an attic some ten years ago.

Neither of the other two surviving Bergonzi cellos are currently being played, with one residing in London and the other at Taiwan’s Chimei Museum. Gindin drew on both these instruments as a model when restoring the cello now played by Gromes.

The first opportunity for audiences to hear a Bergonzi cello in recent memory will take place on October 28, when Gromes performs the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 alongside the Belgian National Orchestra and conductor Roberto González-Monjas.

"A seasoned, qualified eye and good instinct can make a decision based on recognizing shapes and known features characteristic to classical violin makers and spot fakes, as well as eliminate the possibilities of such instruments having been constructed by other masters working close to the one in question in time and distance," Gindin said of the identification process. "An appropriate analogy here is probably recognizing someone you know — even from far away, sometimes after years or decades of not having seen them."

"I still can’t believe my luck that I can now make music on this wonderful cello!" wrote Gromes on social media.

"Long standing patrons of mine gave me the opportunity to look for a fine Italian Instrument and when I played the very first notes on this Bergonzi it felt like coming home — I knew at once that my search was over and I had found the perfect instrument for me."

"For me the cello sounds exactly like a cello should sound," she added. "It comes closer to the imagination of an ideal cello sound in my head than any instrument before. Most of all I think it sounds a lot like the human voice and therefore is deeply touching and really reaches the heart."

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