Body Movement & the Cello: Pt. 2 - The Great Cellists

[This post is pretty video heavy. If you're reading this in an email and can't see the videos below, click here.]

The great cellists have a lot to teach us. period. But they also have a lot to teach us about how to effectively and creatively add our own touch to how the cello sounds. This often means that how it looks to play the cello changes from player to player. 

I know I always say this, but I'll say it again, "The cello should fit you. You shouldn't fit the cello." This not only applies to your general default cello posture, but also to your whole body's movement while playing the instrument. 

Stjepan Hauser (of the youtube sensation 2CELLOS) imitates the great cellists in the video below. Get your cello nerd glasses on, 'cause it's gonna get pretty cello-nerdy. Of course he exaggerates each imitation, but he's pretty spot on - especially with the Yo-Yo Ma imitation. :-)  

Hilarious and impressive, huh? So nerdy, right? :-)  I told ya!

Of course I got a big kick out of this video when I first saw it a couple years ago. So today I thought that I'd show you the real-life examples of each of the cellists Stjepan was imitating.

I've cued up each of the videos below to highlight the specific things that Stjepan exaggerated. See if you can spot what he's referring to...  ;-)

Mischa Maisky

facial/mouth movements

Mistaslav Rostropovich

'heavy-handedness' with the cello. 

Yo-Yo Ma  

swaying back and forth, looking at the ceiling with his eyes closed

Natalie Gutman

uses her head and shoulders to emphasize her bowing.

Pablo Casals

exaggerated bowings, vocalizing his own performance (grunting?)

Jacqueline DuPre

her "wild" body movements while playing the cello... also did a lot of smiling.

Daniil Shafran

famous for his almost flippant posture, and exaggerated dynamics with his eyes closed.

Stjepan Hauser

He takes all of the above physical attributes and rolls them into one head-banging cello-playing burrito. And fittingly, it seems kinda natural for him. ;-)

What do you notice about a cellist's movements when you watch them perform?