'The Open String Cello'
Knowledge Exchange Fellow
Dr Kate Kennedy | Faculty of English | University of Oxford
Hill and Sons | Dr Robert Young
The 'Open String' project is a collaboration between biographer and cellist Kate Kennedy, Co-Director of Oxford Centre for Lifewriting, Robert Brewer Young, the director of the distinguished instrument maker and dealer W Hill and Sons, and Prof. Paul Meyer from Cambridge Engineering Faculty. Hill has a long relationship with an orchestra for young people in Rosario, Argentina. Children are taught an instrument, and their families fed and housed, in return for an agreement not to be involved in crime. The orchestra is hugely successful, and has good teaching, but no instruments good enough for the now accomplished teenagers to play. Kennedy, Young and Meyer are designing a completely new, hybrid form of cello, combining historic instrument patterns from the Stradivarius museum in Cremona with new technology. The makers will work with Kate, who, as a cellist, can advise on the design and sound of the instrument. She will attempt to make the first one, as the project aims to explore whether these instruments can be made simple enough for the children to manufacture themselves, given machines designed specially by Cambridge.