Toronto cellist shows off carbon cello in new concerto

Posted on: October 18, 2011

In Monday’s (10/17) Toronto Star, Trish Crawford writes, “He’s known as Carbon Baby and he’s the sturdy delight of cellist Shauna Rolston. The sleek, black, modern-looking cello is such an integral part of Rolston’s performances that composer Douglas Schmidt has recently written a special work for the cellist and her instrument titled The Devil’s Sweat (a ‘carbon concerto’ for carbon cello and orchestra). Commissioned by Esprit Orchestra, it will have its premiere at their Oct. 19 performance at Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music. … Five years ago, [Rolston] became intrigued by the new carbon-fiber cellos being made by Luis and Clark and dedicated herself to ‘really, understand the instrument, to understand it as I would a regular cello.’ Affordable (by string instrument standards) at around $7,000, the black cello is impervious to the weather which can wreak havoc on wooden instruments, she says. … While the carbon cello sounds just like a cello should, says Rolston, ‘it’s like the sound is surrounding you. Pianists who accompany me say they can hear it behind me while, with a wooden cello, the sound is more out front.’ The only wooden parts of Carbon Baby are the sound posts and the bridge, says Rolston, adding this cello is not better than a wooden one, ‘just different.’ ”

Posted October 18, 2011