Cellissimo Premiere – The cellists

The cellists of Steel City Strings have formed a cello quartet. We are proud to introduce them as “Cellissimo”.

In their inaugural program, Cellissimo have chosen a delicious program. In this year of 2023, ABC Classic FM listeners voted the cello Australia’s favourite instrument. This program is a celebration of the depth and range of cello sound and its capacity to inspire.

Four Cellists


Get to Know our Cellists in this Q&A

How old were you when you discovered the cello?

Karella: I was 7yrs old when I asked my parents if I could swap from violin to cello. 

Rita: I was quite old – around 12 years old so I had a lot of catching up to do. I started classical guitar at 7yrs old however – not a usual combination.

Catherine: I was 10 years old when I discovered the ‘cello. I’d started learning the piano at age 6 and my piano teacher encouraged me to learn a second instrument when I was in Year 5 at school. I’d heard my cousin play the ‘cello and loved the sound plus there was a spare instrument to use at school! The ‘cello also chose me as I had prominent braces on my teeth at that age and I wasn’t able to play the flute which was the other instrument I was interested in learning 😉 

Louisa: 12 years old

What’s your favourite thing about being a cellist?

Karella: I love having such a huge range of notes to play with! 

Rita: It is so versatile and can blend with lots of different genres, and also Everyone says “Oh that’s my favourite instrument” which makes me feel smug.

Catherine: I love the versatility as a performer – opportunities to perform solo, with a chamber ensemble or an orchestra. 

Louisa: Being able to create such a huge variety of tone and emotion from the one instrument – that and being envied by people who wish they’d learnt cello (it’s never too late!)

What’s your least favourite thing about being a cellist?

Karella: I have to say definately hauling it all over town! 

Rita: Carrying the beast up several flights of stairs when I can’t get a “bearer” to do it.

Catherine: It’s a bulky instrument to carry and transport which has meant I’ve taken my ‘cello whenever buying a car 😆

Louisa: I honestly don’t think I have one, I wouldn’t swap it for anything

Favourite cello piece at the moment:

Karella: That’s a hard question to answer but I’ve always loved The Swan by Saint -Saens.

Rita: It changes every week – but at the moment I’m in love with Bloch’s Meditation Hebraique and Schelomo

Catherine: A piano trio (written for piano, violin and ‘cello) by Elena Kats- Chernin  titled “Terms of Enchantment” which my husband commissioned for our 25th year wedding anniversary this year!

Louisa: The Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla

Biggest cello challenge?

Karella: Having enough time in the day to practise! 

Rita: Fitting Cellissimo & instruments into a mini minor!

Catherine: Performing the Haydn ‘cello concerto in C major and Saint Saens Concerto in A minor with my local orchestra. 

Louisa: Getting it in the car boot


Who is your no1 Hero cellist:

Karella: Jacqueline du Pré

Rita: Madame Suggia and Yo Yo Ma

Catherine: Jaqueline du Pre

Louisa: Sol Gabetta


Calling all Cellists in the Illawarra….Would you like to play in our cello circle with our amazing cellists from Cellissimo? Just bring your cello to one of our concerts – 23rd September in the Wollongong Art Gallery, Berry School of Arts on the 14th of October or Bowral Memorial Hall on the 15th October . Book Your Tickets Now The cellos will be safe and sound while we are watching Cellissimo. After the program is over, we’ll all sit down and make a huge cello sound together. Beginner or professional, young or experienced, all will have a part to play. Forward this to a cellist you know.


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The members of Steel City Strings are outstanding examples of hard work, enterprise, enthusiasm and dedication. They reach for the stars and beyond. More power to these wonderful people.

Richard Gill AO

In Debussy's Sacred and Profane Dances of 1904 the orchestra was joined by harpist Paulina Smirnov whose scintillating playing created a wonderful and subtly-nuanced centrepiece for the concert.


A fascinating program of works from various musical periods... The orchestra played with a strong sense of ensemble, and brought an infectious verve to the Mozart.



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