Why does Principal Cello Norman Adams sometimes perform with a black cello?

Norman gives us the answer:

“I use my Luis and Clark carbon fibre cello for almost half my work as a cellist. My number one cello is an old English instrument made in 1775 by Benjamin Banks, so I am fortunate to have the carbon cello to use when the orchestra is playing in situations where my instrument might be at risk.

Cellos are wide and big and we need a little extra room to manoeuvre and play sometimes. In some concerts, because instruments and musicians are very close to me (like in some Maritime Fusion concerts), or the audience is sitting quite close to me (like in school concerts and free public concerts), or I have kids sitting right on top of me (have you seen me at Musical Munchkins? Wow!), I feel safer using my carbon cello.

Often I’ll get a little warning from our Technical Coordinator MJ MacLeod or our Production Manager Eric Mathis that carbon would be best! The carbon cello doesn’t sound quite as beautiful as my old cello, but I can make it sound pretty nice, and when I’m not worried about having a guitar dropped on me, or a kid pluck my strings, I play better too!

In the rest of my musical life I make much more adventurous, improvised music through suddenlyLISTEN Music. In those concerts I might employ electronics, or tap the body of the instrument, or play super aggressively, and I feel free to do that without fears of breaking anything. My carbon cello gives me a great feeling of freedom and safety, and that helps me make more expressive music in every situation I find myself working.”