What are we trying to achieve?


A large number of musicians believe that the only three 8ft bowed stringed instruments used were the viola da gamba, the baroque cello and the modern cello (seen in symphony orchestras).  This is not the case, however, and this misunderstanding of the cello’s history is being passed from teacher to music student, and from music student to the children they teach.  There are very few musicians in the world who understand the true depth of the cello’s history.


This is where the 8ft project steps in, to change this misconception.  We plan to work with instrument makers across the UK to build copies of many of the different varieties of 8ft instruments throughout the cello’s history.  We will then send a small team of musicians to take these instruments to music colleges and universities, and to summer courses and schools.  This will educate the next generation of musicians as to the instrument’s history, enthuse their understanding of classical music, and show them how to expand the boundaries of the period music world.  Not only will this effect cellists, but it will encourage other instrumentalists to dig further into their own instrument’s history.  A large proportion of music college students teach in schools, so this knowledge would be filtered down to the school children, not only increasing their understanding and interest in classical music, but also their interest of general history. 


The project will also work with composers to create new works for these instruments, to combine in programmes with the more famous works for the instruments. 


The team will be led by Hetti Price, a leading period music specialist and a published academic who is undertaking in-depth research into the history of bowed 8ft string instruments.  She will be joined by Drew Evans, a luthier who is specialising in unusual instruments.  Together they are some of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of the history, making and performance of these types of instruments.  There is currently no other project like this in the world.