Text Box: CELList autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $225.00



Scarce two page autographed letter by the Canadian born, American cellist to composer Peter Mennin, March 29, 1961. (signed three times!) We include a vintage 8” x 10” press photograph of Nelsova and her Stradivarius cello, “The Marquis de Colberon”.

Zara Nelsova

c/o Ibbs & Tillett, 124 Wigmore St., London WI ENGLAND

March 29th, 1961

Dear Peter,

Many thanks for your letter of March 17th.  It was sent on to me in London.  I wrote you from New York prior to my departure from Europe around January 3rd.  Did you receive it?  In it I said I will return to the States by November 1st.  However now I can tell you I am definitely back by Oct. 26th.  I am in Israel from September 22nd until October 10th.  I then have some concerts in Europe until October 26th.  However, there is a chance that I must return to the States immediately after Israel, and this I can tell you in a week or two.  I will not be away from New York nexct season more than a week at a time.  My actual dates have not yet come in.  I do not go to Europe next year at all.  I see I have a few dates marked– Here they are-

Pittsburgh Dec. 6-11

Chicago Jan 31-Feb 3

Calif period - about 8 days not settled

Utah Jan 22 –26th

I can be reached in London until May 15th—then I fly to New York. 

All good wishes,

As ever


Nelsova (1918-2002) was one of the great cellists of the 20th Century helping to popularize Ernest Bloch’s seminal work, “Schelomo”.  She was born in Canada and initially studied with Dezso Mahalek.  Her family moved to London in 1929 where she studied with Herbert Walenn.  She was also coached by Pablo Casals, Emanuel Feuermann and Gregor Piatigorsky.  At 13 she appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Malcolm Sargent.  She combined with her musical sisters, one a pianist and the other a violinist to form The Canadian Trio which toured Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, the Far East and Canada.  During the War she took a position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, also combining at the same time with violinist Kathleen Parlow and pianist Sir Ernest MacMillan to form a new Canadian Trio. Her play with the symphony was so exemplary that the visiting conductors took notice and her engagement calendar began tom fill.  (She also began her work with the “big three” Casals, Feuermann and Piatifgorsky at this point.)  In 1942 she made her American debut at Town Hall in New York City.  After the War she moved to London, giving important British Premieres of works by Hindemith, Schostakovich, Samuel Barber and Ernest Bloch.  She became an American citizen in 1955.  Her style was purportedly “Russian” which had a ring of authenticity due to her stage name, but was certainly not the case.  That said, she was a legendary performer and extremely busy on the concert platform throughout her life.  Composers gravitated to her, Ernest Bloch who appreciated her promotion of “Schelomo” wrote and dedicated three suites for unaccompanied cello for/to her. She gave the World Premiere of Hugh Wood’s cello concerto in 1969 at the Proms under Colin Davis and then toured the work around the world with Pierre Boulez. From 1963-1973 she was married to concert pianist Grant Johannesen and the two toured together. In 1962 she accepted Peter Mennin’s offer for a professorship at Julliard where she remained for the rest of her life when she was not touring.  She also was a Professor at the Aspen School of Music in the Summers.