Sounds Like a Winner

--Celebrated Cellist Anner Bylsma to Receive Smithson Medal--

It all began when a 3-year-old boy picked away at a violin under the guidance of his father. By age 8, Anner Bylsma had taken up the cello, initiating a lifelong passion and a celebrated career. In honor of his contributions to American culture and music, the Smithsonian Institution will present the world-renowned cellist with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal on Oct. 28 in a ceremony at the museum’s Hall of Musical Instruments. Bylsma began his formal training at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, leading to his receipt of the Prix d’Excellence in 1957. He later became the principal cellist for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Bylsma has performed solo, as well as with numerous orchestras and ensembles, throughout the world in Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Russia and Japan. He also has recorded many albums that have earned him international honors, including a Grammy nomination, the Netherlands’s Edison Prize and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s Vivaldi Prize. Esteemed for his musical talent on both period and modern instruments, Bylsma has been active with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society for many years. The Society, in residence at the museum, is the only of its kind in the world due to its active use of instruments from the museum’s collections. The James Smithson Bicentennial Medal, named for the British scientist who endowed his estate for the creation of the Smithsonian Institution, was established in 1965 in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth. It is awarded to individuals who have made notable contributions to the advancement of areas of interest to the Smithsonian. Past music-related recipients include James Birks (“Dizzy”) Gillespie, Tito Puente, Rosemary Clooney and Billy Joel. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The National Museum of American History traces American heritage through exhibitions of social, cultural, scientific and technological history. Collections are displayed in exhibitions that interpret the American experience from Colonial times to the present. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at or call (202) 633-1000.
Media OnlyValeska Hilbig/Anna Gelhaus (202) 633-3129