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< Back to question Who is the greatest cellist of all time? Show more Show less

The cello is a string instrument known for its soulful, singing, almost human voice like sound, and can be found soloing, in chamber music, or as one of the foundation pieces of a symphony orchestra. A number of players have transformed the cello into the solo voice that it is today. But of them, who is the greatest?

Gregor Piatigorsky is the greatest cellist Show more Show less

His career was interwoven with so many of the key musical figures and organizations in the 20th century, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the Curtis Institute, to his chamber music.
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Gregor Piatigorsky was the cellist for the "Million Dollar Trio"

Piatigorsky regularly played chamber music with Arthur Rubinstein (piano), and Jascha Heifetz (violin), who together were known as the "Million Dollar Trio."
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The Argument

The Million Dollar Trio was a group of extraordinary musicians that formed in 1949. They performed together in a small series of concerts before disbanding in 1950.[1] Gregor Piatigorsky was the sole cellist in this trio. Critics regarded him as the most talented musician of the group. Ivan Galamian, a famous violinist and teacher, even called Piatigorsky "the greatest string player of all time." Being a part of this outstanding group and garnering such praise from Galamian prove that Piatigorsky was the greatest cellist of all time.

Counter arguments

While the "Million Dollar Trio" was an incredible ensemble, it was so short-lived that it is hard to accurately assess and compare this group of musicians to others. For this reason, we cannot argue that Piatigorsky is the greatest cellist of all time because of his membership in this group. Furthermore, Piatigorsky was only a part of this ensemble--he contributed to its excellence but was not solely responsible for it. We cannot argue for his excellence based on the group's collective talent. Instead, we must assess Piatigorsky's talent alone.


[P1] Piatigorsky was a member of the "Million Dollar Trio" an extremely talented musical group. [P2] Galamian called Piatigorsky "the greatest string player of all time" because of his contributions to this group. [P3] For these reasons, Piatigorsky is the greatest cellist of all time.

Rejecting the premises




This page was last edited on Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 15:20 UTC


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