Having played the Markevitch Stradivarius for the last 8 years, I sadly had to give it back to the owners last July.
My relationship with this magnificent instrument started when I gave my Proms Concerto Debut in 2005. The Royal Academy of Music, where I am a Professor, very kindly offered to lend me a cello from their prestigious collection.
Little did I know that it was going to be a `Golden Years` Strad! One of only 10 instruments made at this time.
Although not easy to play initially, I grew to love this instrument and we embarked on an incredible journey from there on.
I am of course devastated to have said goodbye to this magnificent instrument, especially not knowing where it has gone or where it will end up, but I am also excited about the future.
The Royal Academy have generously lent me the 1695 Rugeri which I am now currently exploring in preparation for up and coming concerts.
This situation has now made me realise that I must now find a cello which I can invest in and know that hopefully I will not have to find myself in this awful position again. Please see my latest update `Good news!` about the instrument I now play, through the tremendous help of Florian Leonhart, I now own a wonderful 1728 Johannes Guidantus cello.