Cellist Charlie Powers is one of two military veterans in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, along with fellow cellist David Premo. Unusually, Charlie is able to visit the maker of his cello. In 2009, “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band commissioned a cello for him to play, by German maker Wolfgang Schnabl. “That cello was a copy of the Montagnana owned by the great cellist Boris Pergamenschikow and was the instrument I played in my PSO audition. Because I didn’t own that instrument, I needed to find another cello when I arrived in Pittsburgh. Fortunately, Wolfgang still had enough wood from the same tree as the Marine cello, and I commissioned another instrument from him. Now, whenever we visit Germany on a European tour, I try to arrange a visit with Wolfgang so he can see and hear how his cello is developing.” Schnabl lives just outside Nuremberg in a town called Bubenreuth. When he has time, he likes to work on the cello and when the symphony recently visited Frankfurt, he was able to fit Charlie’s cello with a new sound post and performed some cosmetic touch ups.

Wolfgang inspecting Michael Lipman’s fine Italian cello after last night’s dinner.

Wolfgang with his wife Todorka and son Julian, holding my 2014 Schnabl cello.

With Wolfgang, the cello, and his son Julian in the foreground.

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