Depending on the weather, Yo-Yo Ma may not take the stage today at President Obamaâ€™s Inauguration with the instrument that weâ€™d all expect: His $2 million 1733 Montagnana cello.
Instead, he may use a $7,139 cello thatâ€™s only slightly less impressive.
Thatâ€™s because his other option is a cello made entirely of carbon fiber from a company called Luis and Clark, since itâ€™s designed to withstand the cold much better than a priceless wooden piece of history. The carbon fiber cello, which is just part of the carbon fiber suite of instruments that Luis and Clark makes, including a viola, violin and bass, was also in the hands of the Joint Service Orchestraâ€™s string section during Sundayâ€™s â€œWe Are Oneâ€ concert, the first time ever a major orchestra had exclusively used carbon fiber string instruments in concert, and will probably be seen more as musicians discover the benefits of the futuristic material.
Unlike a wooden cello, the Luis and Clark carbon fiber cello has a single-piece body, neck and peg box with no scroll at the top, and is designed to resist the effects of temperature and humidity without loosing the sound that top cello players demand.
$17,500 would buy you quite a few violin lessons, but even after you completed all of them, itâ€™s still debatable weather or not you would be able to outplay the Virtuoso, the worldâ€™s first self-playing violin. Utilizing a real bow (and a bunch of computers, motors, and techno mumbo jumbo), the Virtuoso sounds just like a real violin, but without the need for an attached human. Self-conducting orchestra, coming soon to a theater near you.