This violoncello was made Luigi Rovatti in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1915. It is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple with even fine descending figure, ribs of similar maple, mildly figured maple neck, pegbox and scroll; golden orange-brown varnish. The instrument has an original printed and handwritten label:
fece in Buenos-Ayres anno 1915
Calle Amambar. p. 232
(and a handwritten inscription):
mondo. Il mio
e mi suona bene
[”Best Violoncello of the world for my friend Ennio Bolognini.
- When (one) studies, I sound good.”]
This instrument was made expressly for the cellist Ennio Bolognini (b. November 7, 1893, Buenos Aires; d. July 31, 1979, Las Vegas). Bolognini was raised in a musical family and subsequently received his early training under José García, teacher of Pablo Casals, at the St. Cecilia Conservatory in Buenos Aires. His talent attracted the attention and friendship of highly regarded musicians such as Jasha Heifetz, Valdimir Horowitz, Victor Herbert and Maurice Ravel. During his years in Buenos Aires he shared an apartment with Arthur Rubenstein and Andrés Segovia. Ennio's father was a close friend of Arturo Toscanini, who became Ennio's godfather.
Ennio Bolognini became an American citizen in 1929 and pursued a career with symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Chicago, Hollywood and Las Vegas. In addition to his remarkable talent as a cellist, he was a conductor and composer, writing six pieces in the style of flamenco guitar for the exclusive performance use of the American cellist, Christine Walewska. Beyond his musical accomplishments Bolognini was a South American boxing champion and licensed airplane pilot, and he is remembered by many colleagues for his unpredictable behavior both inside and outside the concert hall.
Ennio Bolognini collected autographs of prominent 20th century musicians, composers, conductors, actors and sports figures. They are written in ink on the table and ribs of this cello.
Among the most easily legible signatures are on the left (bass) side of the instrument. Signatures on the upper bass side of the cello include:
Remo Bolognini (1929-1973), violinist, brother of Ennio Bolognini
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), Austrian-American violinist and composer
Dmitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960), Greek-American pianist and conductor who led the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1937-1949) and the New York Philharmonic (1951-7)
Andrés Segovia (1893-1987), father of the modern classical guitar movement
Joseph Szigeti (1892-1973), Hungarian-American violinist
José Ferrer (1912-1992), the first Latino (Puerto Rican) actor to win an Academy Award
Bruno Walter (1876-1962), German-born conductor of many famous American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Richard Crooks (1900-1972) American tenor, a leading singer at the New York Metropolitan Opera
G[iovanni] Martinelli, (1885-1969), Italian-American tenor, also a leading singer at the New York Metropolitan Opera
János Starker (b. 1924), Hungarian-American cellist and teacher
Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985), Hungarian-American violinist and conductor who led the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1931-1936), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (1936-1980)
Richard Tucker (1913-1975), a leading American operatic tenor of the post-war era
Stephen Kates (1944-2003), American cellist, and the last person to sign Bolognini’s cello
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- date made
- Bolognini, Ennio
- Rovatti, Luigi
- place made
- Argentina: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
- Physical Description
- spruce (overall material)
- maple (overall material)
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Credit Line
- Gift of Dorothy B. Bolognini in memory of Maestro Ennio Bolognini
- See more items in
- Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
- Music & Musical Instruments
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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