Please note the changed opening hours from 16 April 2024. More

Cellos Storm the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin


Cello students from Berlin conservatories storm Berlin museums. On 7 October the music of young up-and-coming cellists will resound through the exhibitions spaces of the Gemäldegalerie, the Bode-Museum and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen.

During the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, the Landesmusikrat Berlin (State Music Council) is bringing the ephemeral element of music into museums, which are traditionally places for the preservation of cultural heritage. Young cellists from Berlin’s music academies ‒ the Musikgymnasium Carl Phillip Emanual Bach and the Julius-Stern-Institute at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) ‒ are performing on 7 October in the exhibition spaces of many Berlin museums, including three that belong to the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The Cello as European Cultural Heritage

The cello has a long history and is representative of Europe’s cultural heritage. The instrument was invented in Italy around 1700, where it gained in popularity that then spread throughout Europe.

The masters from Cremona, Venice and Padua shared technical knowhow for centuries with Southern German lute makers. Füssen, the centre of European lute making, quite naturally expanded its repertoire to include bowed string instruments. In the 19th century Markneukirchen and Kligenthal joined the ranks of these important centres. Today there are some 1,300 instrument makers active there in more than 100 workshops.

Cello instructors travelled just as widely as the instrument itself. Jean-Pierre Duport is considered the founder of the German violoncello school. He was born in Paris in 1741, performed as a musician in the chamber orchestra of Louis Francois de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, the patron of Rousseau, and then, like many of his contemporaries, set out a concert tour across Europe. Following stays in England and Spain, he settled in Berlin, where Frederick the Great engaged him as principal cellist at the Royal Opera and as a teacher. He later became the chief director of the Royal Chamber Music Orchestra, in which capacity he met Mozart and Beethoven. The latter wrote the two sonatas for violoncello and piano, op. 5, in Berlin in 1796, dedicating them to Frederick William II. Duport’s history is only one among those of the many musicians of his time – artists who quite naturally were at home anywhere in Europe.

In cooperation with the Landesmusikrat Berlin e. V. and local conservatories.