The Feuermann Stradivarius gets a new player

The Feuermann Stradivarius gets a new player


norman lebrecht

September 25, 2019

The French cellist Camille Thomas will play it on loan for the next year.

She writes: ‘Yesterday was a very special day for me. I am extremely happy to share the news that, thanks to the Nippon Music Foundation, I will play the magnificent Feuermann Stradivarius!

‘This iconic cello made in 1730 was played by legends like Franchomme, Feuermann, Aldo Parisot, Steven Isserlis and I feel deeply moved to be part of its wonderful history for the year to come.’



  • Lazare says:

    This is an absolute shame !!!

    Camille Thomas is a very poor cellist, she can only make glissandi to reach the far notes and her musicianship consists in making “inspiring faces” to pretend she is musical.

    But actually, she is simply an absolute musical and cellistisc fraud.

    Why the Nippon Foundation has chosen Camille Thomas is a mystery and a disgrace !
    Her Deutsch Grammophon contracts does not prove she has any talent but it might have helped to get her this cello.

    Emmanuel Feuerman would have cried if he had hear this !

    There are tens of young cellists that would deserve this glorious cello, but clearly she does not !!!

    Once again, the “musical world” listens through its eyes and not through its ears !

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I don’t know Camille Thomas work, but that comment by ‘Lazare’ was very nasty.

    Anyway, I hope she is going to take better care of her instrument than with her former one:

    • Lazare says:

      So you do not know her work and you think I’m being nasty ?

      Listen to her and then you’ll perhaps understand why I am so “nasty”…

    • Lazare says:

      Let’s take another Elgar

      -Constant hysterical vibrato

      -Constant up and glissandi. She is unable to shift without sliding.

      -Approximative intonation

      – So “musical” inspired faces

      Altogether, it is just vulgar !

      But obviously, it seems to be enough to convince people that she is great !

      Listen with your EARS and not your EYES !

  • Dragonetti says:

    I have to say that although I don’t generally approve of vituperative comments I have to have a slight sympathy with Lazare here. Firstly I have always hated playing under or watching gurning soloists and for me that also includes those who move about maddeningly like those once-popular nodding dogs in cars.
    Perhaps we could excuse some of her swooping as historical style? Listen to any early recording of the Elgar and it sounds dreadful by 21C standards.
    Overall though I do tend to agree that from the evidence of the Elgar recordings shown that hers isn’t a great talent. How are these things decided? Personal recommendation? Jury?

    • Max Grimm says:

      ‘How are these things decided?’
      With the exception of the 1708 “Huggins” Stradivari, which is loaned to winners of the violin category of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for 3-4 years, interested musicians who fulfill (utterly broad or vague) requirements stipulated by the foundation, may apply for the loan of an instrument. In the case of the Feuermann, it read as follows:

      Application for the Stradivarius 1730 Cello “Feuermann” (Category C)

      Eligibility: Have a specific purpose of activities
      (e.g. Special Concert, Debut Concert,
      Anniversary Concert, Recording, Competition etc.)

      Length of Loan: 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020 (1 year)

      Application Period: 2 August 2019 – 30 August 2019 […]”

      A jury then decides who among all applicants shall receive the loan of one of the instruments. At present, the jury consist of Mari Fujiwara (Cellist), Koichiro Harada (Violinist & Professor), Shinichiro Ikebe (Composer), Kim Kashkashian (Violist & Professor), Ida Kavafian (Violinist & Professor), Count Yvan de Launoit (VP, Queen Elisabeth Competition), Jonathan Nott (Conductor).
      More information may be found here, at

      • Lazare says:

        I’d love to read the list of the unsuccessful applicants …

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Maybe she was the best of those who applied. I can imagine many established cellists have a cello that they prefer to use when they perform and that they don’t feel they want a new one just for one year.

  • Amazing to think that my former teacher was his chamber music partner:

    You can hear them playing Beethoven in New York here:

  • Edgar Self says:

    This sounds like the De Munck-Feuermann Stradivarius of 1730 that Nippon Music previously lent Danjulo Ishizaka, a past ARD winner. Amit Peled would be a likely candidate if it’s not too small for him.

    If August Franchomme owned it, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Alkan possibly heard him play it and wrote their sonatas with its sound in mind.

    On recorded evidence, Emanuel Feuermann is one of the best cellists who ever lived, but he died at 39. Many would not qualify that “best”. Casals prevailed in Bach’s suites, but that’s about it. Feuermann didn’t record them except for an excerpt he announces as encore on a live broadcast.

    Feuermann’s Beethoven “Eyeglass” Duo with Primrose, Haydn D-major concerto and its astounding cadenza, Dvorak and Saint-Saens concertos, Brahms Double with Heifetz, Mendelohn and Beethoven sonatas, the trios with Rubinstein and Heifetz, Dohnanyi serenade, Mozart E-flat divertimento, set a standard rarely approached.

  • Jack says:

    This is where the classical world is going. We don’t know if it is better to cry or to laugh… so many good cellists around …

  • Lord Bus Stop says:

    I’d never heard Camille Thomas before, but the comments here made me curious. I found her playing in the Shostakovich No 1 to be both adroit and very incisive, and I was thrilled by it.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Max Grimm, many thanks for your information about Nippon Music’s instrument loans.

  • Dave says:

    I saw Amit Peled in Santa Cruz, where he played a recital on Pablo Casal’s Gofriller. I spoke to him afterwards. Apparently when Marta Casals dies the cello will be placed in a museum forever. The same thing happened to Heifitz’ Guarnerius. Putting these instruments in glass cases is a travesty.