Alisa Weilerstein had performed on the same cello she has owned since she was 16. But a few years ago, in a surprising move, she switched instruments.

“I’m currently playing a 1723 Montagnana, which I’ve had for the past 2½ years,” she said in a 2017 interview with Strings magazine. “I found it through a dealer, Christophe Landon. I had been playing a William Forster, Sr., cello for nearly 16 years. I took my Forster in for some work, and Landon introduced me to the Montagnana. I was skeptical, but after playing it for two minutes I was in love. I co-own it with a party that wishes to stay anonymous.”

Her previous cello was a 1790 instrument made by William Forster (1739-1808), a well-regarded English luthier, whose later instruments were patterned after those of the famous Amati family of Italian violin makers. “He made a lot of wonderful cellos,” said Weilerstein, who joins the Czech Philharmonic in an SCP Orchestras concert Nov. 4. “He specialized in the lower strings. [His] violins are, in my opinion, a little bit too dark.”

On how the Montagnana compares to the Forster, she said, “It is an amazing instrument. With it, I work half as hard — and get a 100-percent better performance.”

TOP: Alisa Weilerstein. | Photo: Harald Hoffman/Decca