VIDEO: Luthier Robin Aitchison Makes Cellos for Academy of Ancient Music

March 28, 2019, 2:25 PM · "That's heaven -- I want to make a cello that can do that," says U.K.-based luthier Robin Aitchison, in a short film just released by the Academy of Ancient Music that documents his process in making copies of Stradivari, Montagnana and Guadagnini cellos. "Whenever I'm about to start work on a new model, it's because I've been to a concert and just been blown away by a sound, and I want to re-create that sound."

Below is the film, with background music featuring cellist Nicolas Altstaedt playing Haydn’s "Adagio cantabile," from the second movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 13. Altstaedt joins the Academy for concerts this week in Cambridge, London, and the Netherlands.

The film is the first in a series of films to be released by the Academy of Ancient Music and The Space which will explore the instruments, composers, performance techniques, and artistry of the Baroque era. Topics include instrument-making, the lives of neglected female 18th-century composers; bowing technique and even the pottery and painting of the time.

"I’m delighted to present this film celebrating the exceptional craftsmanship of Robin Aitchison – a rare glimpse of a true artisan at work," said Academy Chief Executive Alexander Van Ingen. "Showcasing our instruments as well as our music is important, and I hope that many people will find it fascinating and engaging. This series of films...will offer an extra dimension to the music we perform; new routes to access the incredible, powerful world of Baroque and Classical music.”

The Academy of Ancient Music, founded in 1973 by Christopher Hogwood, was among the pioneers in the period performance movement, using instruments from (or set up in the same way as those from) the Baroque and Classical periods. The group has a discography of more than 300 recordings.

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