Prague Cello Corporation

In 1978 I was fortunate enough to attend the Sugarloaf International String Quartet Workshop through lessons with Harry Lantz, the father of Portland String Quartet violinist Ronnie Lantz. We all went to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine to learn the art of chamber music with the world renowned Portland String Quartet. At age 20 I moved to Portland to study cello and chamber music with Paul Ross and the P.S.Q. While there I visited a violinmaker named Jon Cooper, who invited me to play a cello he had on consignment from a collector. After a couple of hours of playing anything I had memorized, Jon wrote a letter of sale with picture plates of the old cello, and I began searching for people who would be interested in helping me acquire this instrument.

The search for buyers began in the Winter of 1985, and in March I was scheduled to perform Suite No. 1 for Solo Cello at Bach's 300th Birthday Celebration. A member of the church remarked favorably about the performance, and I approached him about the cello. It turned out Joel Martin was a corporate attorney and recent President of the Portland Symphony Board of Trustees. A musician himself (pianist and singer), Mr. Martin put together a purchase and sale contract to allow me a couple more months to play the cello and to prepare a short program at his home, where we performed for music patrons and friends. Afterward he suggested we incorporate the cello, and having been determined that it had been made by a Prague school of violin-making, we called it the "Prague Cello Corporation."

Part of Jon Cooper's terms of the sale of the cello was that it would be completely restored, and so it was over a six month period. My investment in the cello was to work all Summer in Texas, in a restaurant 55 hours a week, to raise the funds for the cello's restoration. The inception of the cello corporation took place on Mother's Day 1985, and in December, after the restoration was complete, I performed the First Annual Prague Cello Recital, part of my lease agreement of the instrument, at Joel's home.