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Cello Videos on YouTube

Cello students looking for inspiration could do worse than prowl around YouTube. Concert videos of famous performers are plentiful, and some of the audio-only clips (with video photo collages) are also well worth exploring.

The links on YouTube may change from time to time, so the URLs given here might no longer be accurate. YouTube has a good search engine, however, so you can easily find cool stuff, even if it's not listed below. Just search for the item I've given here in bold and see what comes up -- or search for 'cello'.

You'll need to have a decent pair of speakers attached to your computer (or headphones, I suppose). Also, note that many of these pieces are several movements long. Even single-movement pieces are often split between two or more videos. To hear the complete piece, you’ll have to locate and watch all of them.

I had never heard of Mischa Maisky, but he's amazing. The Bach Suite movements are excellent. Not all of these videos are well synchronized with the audio -- the Prelude of the Sixth Suite is about one eighth-note off -- so if you're paying close attention to technique, you might get a little confused.

Pablo Casals was the greatest cellist of the first part of the 20th century. Many of the YouTube clips have no video at all, only still images, but the 1954 French film of Casals playing the First Suite is excellent, in spite of the harsh sound quality.

Jacqueline Du Pre was probably the finest cellist of my generation. She died at an early age, so these videos (when there is video at all) are old. The Elgar concerto is well worth watching.

All of Yo-Yo Ma’s recordings are worth hearing. Some of the video that accompanies the cello suites is impressionistic, and doesn't show the cello at all, which is a shame. But you'll find a few good performance videos on YouTube, such as the Elgar and Dvorak Concertos. The Chopin Sonata has no video, but this piece is inspiring.

If you do a YouTube search for cello beethoven rose gould, you'll find a true gem -- Leonard Rose and Glenn Gould playing the Beethoven A major sonata. It was probably recorded in the early 1960s, as were the Rostropovich videos of the Beethoven sonatas. Many recordings of these wonderful pieces are available.

Every cellist should know the Schubert two-cello quintet. It's one of the highlights of the chamber music repertoire.

I had never heard of the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia until I stumbled on this amazing duo recording. Don't miss it! In a lighter vein, one of my students turned me onto the Piano Guys, who do pop/classical adaptations using electric cellos and various kinds of video trickery. They're kind of kitschy, but well worth watching.

There are plenty of videos of Julie-O, a fun folk/jazz cello solo by Mark Summer. Some are great, some are embarrassing. The sound in the Elizabeth Willey performance isn't great, but it's interesting for other reasons. The authoritative performance, of course, is by Summer himself.