Amazing Cello Solos You Must Hear!
Who doesn’t love the cello? No one, that’s who. Musicians have been doing magical things on this versatile instrument for centuries. YouTube doesn’t go back that far, but that hasn’t stopped us from putting together this list of amazing cello solos you must see (and hear) to be believed.
- Yo-Yo Ma’s professional debut. He was only seven years old and cute as a button. The event was a benefit concert, “The American Pageant of the Arts,” where the young cellist joined notable artists like Van Cliburn and Robert Frost in performing for President John F. Kennedy and others. Yo-Yo, accompanied by his sister Yeou-Cheng, performed Jean-Baptiste Bréval’s Concertino No. 3 in A major. According to Leonard Bernstein, who introduced the performance; Pablo Casals recommended Yo-Yo for the gig.
- Yo-Yo, a scant 53 years later. In 2015, Yo-Yo is accompanied by Kathryn Stott performing Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod), an intense, melodic study.
- And now for something completely different, take a look at 2Cellos getting “Thunderstruck.” Their performance of AC/DC’s hard rock tune is a showcase of putting your whole body into your performance. This official video has racked up 88+ million views, yet the boys aren’t resting on their laurels. You can catch them in a little casual Despacito.
- Watch Stephan Braun take on the cello like he’s playing a guitar in this recording of his live 2013 performance of a jazzed up version of “Someday my prince will come.”
- Here’s some more jazz, this time the Duke Ellington classic, “Caravan.” A quartet of three cellists (Wassily Gerassimez, Clemens Sainitizer, Stephan Braun) and one bass-cellist (Oliver Radke) start with a slow roll before building up the tempo.
- Is this Justin Yu’s Yo-Yo Ma-esque debut? Well, it wasn’t his debut and Ellen DeGeneres isn’t President Kennedy, but he’s still cute as a button. Instead of going the classical route, Justin played Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” If you want to see him at the ripe age of 10 years old (a couple years after this “Ellen Show” performance) taking on Hadyn, here you go.
- French cellist Adrien Frasse-Sombet has a reputation for expanding boundaries and crossing cultures with his musical selections and desire to expand the audience for classical music. Here he gives a solo performance of an intermezzo by 20th century Spanish composer Gaspar Cassadó as part of a TEDx presentation.
- Apocalyptica is another all-cellist group that loves to convert metal music into cello bravado. This cover of Metallica’s “Battery” is the bonus track on their latest album “Plays Metallica by Four Cellos” (2016). Cello metal at its staccato, head-banging finest with some smoking electric cello thrown in. (Really, the cello starts smoking.)
- Classical and electric cellist Tina Guo is also a composer. She teamed up with Hans Zimmer to compose “Wonder Woman’s Theme,” which she performs here. Tina loves to mix it up with pop culture. Here she plays a piece from “Game of Thrones” episode “Rains of Castamere,” more commonly known as “The Red Wedding.” In Guo’s arrangement, she’s put together the cello and the erhu, a stringed instrument from China.
- Don’t want to have to choose between pop and classical? The Piano Guys have an Adele/Mozart mashup. They put together Adele’s “Hello” with Mozart’s “Lacrimosa,” the seventh movement of Mozart’s “Requiem.” Their intention was to bring 18th century spiritualism together with 21st century self-regard and romantic regret.
- Alright, we’ve seen cello performances in jazz, pop, metal, as well as classical music. Now here’s some classic country: The violin-cello duet, Sempre Sisters, perform John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Clicking on any of these YouTube clips will start you down the alt-cello rabbit hole, so set aside some time. You’ll be there awhile.
Top photo: Still from "Caravan" video, featuring Wassily Gerassimez.
This article sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld