West coast cellist vying for chance to use historical master instrument
Heather Tuach has been selected as a finalist in the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank competition. The competition, sponsored by the Canada Council of the Arts, is held every three years to give talented Canadian classical musicians the chance to borrow fine stringed instruments from the musical instrument bank.
— Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star
Corner Brook — Heather Tuach has always avoided contests, prefering to just play her cello for audiences and enjoyment.
But that changed recently when the former Corner Brook resident heard of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank competition.
The competition, sponsored by the Canada Council of the Arts, is held every three years to give talented Canadian classical musicians the chance to borrow fine stringed instruments from its musical instrument bank.
She applied to the competition about six months ago and was recently selected as one of 30 finalists.
The 13 violins, five cellos and one cello bow available have a total value of over $28 million.
One of the cellos, a 1696 Bonjour Stradivari, is valued at $7.5 million.
The cello, which is on loan to the musical instrument bank, was made by Antonio Stradivari and is named after an amateur 19th-century Parisian cellist, Abel Bonjour, who owned it until his death sometime after 1885.
Chance to play antique
“The chance of playing an amazing cello,” said Tuach, is what drew her to enter the competition.
Even though it’s insured by the council, Tuach said playing the Bonjour would be a little unnerving.
“It’s an antique. It can never be replaced.”
So she’d be quite happy with one of the others, which range in value from $350,000 to $850,000.
“Even the lowest one would be amazing because the cello I have now is just a fraction of that,” she said.
She even has a plan in mind if she receives one of the cellos.
Tuach said she’d like to transform one of her own instruments into a baroque cello.
“Then I could possibly get work with the period orchestras in London,” she said adding a win would give her “one modern cello, one baroque cello and then one super cello.”
Tuach is visiting with family in Corner Brook and leaves for London, where she is a member of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Saturday.
She’ll travel to Toronto Sept. 15 and on Sept. 17 will audition before the competition’s judges.
She will have to play two pieces for the judges and has selected a movement of a sonata by Chopin and a movement of a sonata by Beethoven.
The second part of the audition will involve an interview.
The competition results will be announced Sept. 26.
The Western Star