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The Cello

Justin plays on a Francesco  Rugeri cello c. 1695. Cremona

 

Francesco Rugeri (Cremona, b. c.1628; d. 28 October 1698), also known as Ruger, Rugier, Ruggeri, Ruggieri, Ruggerius, was the first of an important family of luthiers, the Casa Rugeri in Cremona, Italy. His instruments are masterfully constructed. Francesco was the first to develop a smaller cello design, which has become the standard for modern cello dimensions.


Francesco lived and worked just outside of the walls of Cremona, Italy in the Parishes of San Bernardo at No. 7 Contrada Coltellai and later by 1687 in the Parish of San Sebastiano. In San Sebastiano he lived next to the convent of San Sigismondo, one of the finest buildings in Cremona. His success peaked after Nicolò Amati's decline and before the rise of the workshop of Antonio Stradivari. After 1670, Francesco was ably assisted by three of his sons in his workshop. The Rugeri tradition was carried on and developed by Francesco's son, Vincenzo Rugeri, who was the only of his sons to later have an independent successful career as a luthier. Francesco was buried in the Church of San Trinita.


Peter Horner of Brompton’s Fine and Rare Instruments found the cello in Italy in 1998:


Justin’s cello was previously owned by  an old Roman family by the name of Garbrecht.


It was kept in a vault during World War II and survived allied bombing along with the huge collection of old master pics.


Justin purchased the cello in 2003 through Peter Biddulph. The instrument had been partly restored by Étienne Vatelot and Justin lent it to the superb cellist Guy Johnston.

He recorded his first cd album on the Ruggeri cello, “Milo”.

 

When the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain and other supporters of Guy purchased his Tecchler cello, the Rugeri was briefly loaned to the excellent Irish cellist Brian O’Kane of the Navarra String Quartet. Here is a link to their J du Pré Charity Concert at Wigmore Hall, performing the Schubert 2 cello Quintet:

 

Justin now performs on the Ruggeri cello. The instrument has recently been expertly restored in New York by Tarisio Fine Instruments and bows. Historic repairs have been made secure and the varnish retouched in worn areas; the instrument is now in excellent condition. It has a wonderfully warm, roomy tone and almost has its own distinctive acoustic.

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The late, great luthier and restorer Mike Byrd with the Francesco Rugeri

 

Justin is currently embarking on a project recording the Bach Solo Cello suites, recorded live at Temple Church in London for the producer, Mike Valentine of Chasing the Dragon Audiophile Recordings

 

Here, Justin plays the open theme to Guy Mitchelmore’s wonderful score to the film, “Frozen”

 
 

©2020 - Justin Pearson