1729 Guarneri Cello

Maker: Joseph Guarneri filius Andreæ, with elements of the instrument crafted by his son, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu

Origin: Cremona, Italy

Made: 1729

Current Player: Julian Thompson

Sound Notes: Very dark, yet sweet in tone


Owner: ACO (donated by Peter Weiss)

Date Acquired: 2007

About the Instrument

The ‘Weiss’ cello was gifted to ACO in 2016 by Peter Weiss AO, one of Australia’s most dedicated arts philanthropists and a successful businessman. It was the biggest single gift in the history of the ACO. The cello joined the ACO after it was discovered in London by Principal Cello Timo-Veikko (Tipi) Valve, where both musician and instrument formed an “instant friendship”.

Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreæ, the patriarch of the famous Guarneri family of luthiers, worked on the cello until he fell ill in 1729, and his son del Gesù took over. This two-stage approach is made apparent when the top of the instrument is compared with others also produced by Guarneri filius Andreæ. To this day, there are only two known examples of cellos completed by del Gesù in his lifetime, and this is one of them.


About the Maker

Giuseppe Guarneri filius Andreæ (1666-1739) trained as a violin maker and violinist, and is considered to be among the great luthiers, producing instruments which are beautiful, and which exhibit a unique blend of tonal excellence, design, and accuracy of workmanship. Later, he was assisted by his sons, Pietro Guarneri and Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, and these instruments, built by father and sons, are often considered superior to his earlier instruments.

The ACO’s Guarneri instruments, of which there are currently three, add a “Carravagio”-esque element of intrigue and darkness to the sound of the Orchestra.

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