Pace, the peace cello, came into my world in August 2016 through what I believe to be divine providence. I have no other way to explain it. It was a tremendous journey to find this cello. When entering into the workshop of the maker Saskia Schouten, just at the moment of completion, the cello, engraved with the sign of peace, seemed to be waiting for me and I knew immediately that it was the instrument for which I had been searching. I could hardly believe it. I had tried many cellos over many years and this is the first one I can sincerely call my very own, not only because I worked hard to earn it (which in the end was very reasonably priced), but also because the shape, tone and resonance feels so natural, magnetic, warm and easy to work with, dare I say delicious. The instrument feels like a dream to play, so rich and gentle at the same time, and so beautiful to look at. It does feel like love and Pace brings me peace.
As a professional composer, I sketch all my pieces by improvising on the cello and piano, and the melodies are here to be found within the resonance of tone-wood and strings. It is such a pleasure and honour to play this cello and to get to know the maker.
I had tried many cellos over many years and this is the first one I can sincerely call my very own’
“When I first saw a Saskia cello years ago, I was impressed by her craftsmanship. I played it for a while and immediately fell in love with the great noble tone. In 1998 Saskia made a beautiful copy of my Francesco Ruggieri “dito il Per” from 1687. Afterwards many orders for students and former students followed.
Saskia is a great enrichment of Dutch violin making.
Several Schouten cellos also play in the octet.
‘I am playing on this cello since 1999 after a project with Amsterdam Sinfonietta where we played the whole programme on new build dutch instruments. We could try these instruments for about a week before the first concert. What stroke me most when I startet to play this cello was – how well and easy it responded from the very beginning. A wide range of dynamics from ppp to ff responded equaly great.Cello had a very beautiful, tender and clear sound. Throughout these years this instrument has developed enormously – sound has become even clearer and stronger with a luminous A string, depth in C string and rich overtones. It is a real pleasure to play on this cello- it is rich and strong for solo performances and at the same time blends fantasticly in chamber music.’
The viola is owned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the permanent player is Ferdinand Hügel.
A rich and beneficial resonance characterizes this Schouten viola! The carrying capacity is enormous; fortunately, secondary noises, such as those produced during solo use in the hall, are not perceptible. The sound depth of the instrument is rich and powerful, the height is full and warm and the middle is characterized as typically warm viola. Overall picture: very even. Due to the clear richness of overtones, the intonation is very careful
The special character and the many colors of this Schouten viola come into their own mainly thanks to the playing with a snakewood bow by Andreas Grütter in Amsterdam. Recommended!'
“All my life I searched for THE CELLO! Recognizable? You say how lucky I am to be able to play on that. Unfortunately, it is still considered that an “old Italian” is still the most attractive object. My view is that this is largely fueled by traders. Unless you are open to builders of this time; and then suddenly you come across surprisingly excellent instruments, some of them unprecedentedly good; a Stradivarius under the new construction.
That happened to me, because I was not looking at that moment of the meeting. Well, that's how it goes in life, if you don't seek, but keep believing, sometimes it comes to you! I'm talking about an instrument built by Saskia Schouten. A Ruggieri of this time. No, rather, a Saskia Schouten from the Netherlands. The most beautiful instrument I have ever heard.”
‘Saskia Schouten builds beautiful and powerful instruments, beautiful to see and beautiful to hear. Her cellos speak easily, without losing depth. I love to play her instrument. Saskia belongs to the top of the Dutch violin makers, and that top is highly regarded internationally.'