Carbonated Music

A Luis and Clark Cello(Photo: luisandclark.com)
A Luis and Clark Cello(Photo: luisandclark.com)

Instruments, Aircraft, and Automobiles Share Materials

Carbon fiber (the blanket term for carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer or carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic) is ubiquitous in today’s society.  We fly in it, drive in it, and use it in various sports, all without a second thought.  We also might be hearing it in the concert hall.  Cellist Shauna Rolston is playing an instrument made from carbon fiber, which she believes may have many applications in music.

Read Classical Music gets Carbonated (toronto.com)

Luis and Clark Blazing Trails in Musical Instruments

When Lewis and Clark set out at the behest of Thomas Jefferson to find a water route across North America, their expedition led them into unknown areas to face unknown dangers.  More than 200 years later, Luis and Clark are blazing trails of a different kind, though one suspects they do not risk life and limb.

Earlier this summer, Luis and Clark sold their 1,000th carbon fiber instrument.

Lest you think this is just another passing fad, the cello has been praised by none other than Yo Yo Ma, who says on their website, “I love this cello…it’s great. It’s fantastic.”

He’s not the only one.  The Calhoun School Performing Art Series has assembled the Carbon Fiber Cello Choir & Chamber Orchestra.  Their instruments are on display in the new 80,000 square foot Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Probably one of the best applications of this material is in performance in extreme conditions.  You might recall the frigid conditions at the inauguration of Barack Obama,  where Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill  were forced to record their performance beforehand and “play” while the audience heard the recording. Meanwhile, 44 Luis and Clark carbon fiber instruments were used exclusively by The Marine Orchestra during the Inauguration ceremony.

Who knows what the future holds for instruments such as these?  One can see applications in school music programs where money is tight and instrument repair is time consuming and expensive.  While music lovers will always want to hear the inimitable sound of classic instruments, Luis and Clark may have set music on a new course.

Read That Carbon Fiber Cello (The Chamber Music Network Newsletter)

Hear  the Carbon Fiber String Quartet by Lisa Ralia Heffter

See how the cello is made

Comments