After my recent purchases of a new cello and a new bow, I needed a new case to put them in.
My requirements for cases have changed since the last time I bought my Stevenson Original when I was still a graduate student. Even then, I typically bought a second airline ticket for my cello when I was travelling, but I wanted a really something really sturdy in case I couldn’t afford to. Or if I had one of those nasty incidents in which you do buy a ticket but the airline staff won’t let your cello on the plane because of some ever-changing rule about bulkhead seats.*
The life of a travelling cellist isn’t easy. Since 9/11, it’s really been impossible to check your instrument with luggage in the hold of an aircraft, because you can have virtually no control over its safety, so you have to buy a second seat for the cello, usually at colossal expense. Even then, this is no guarantee that either you or your cello will be allowed on board, since the rules about where the cello may sit vary by airline, aircraft model, and the capricious whims of the staff.
Over ten years ago, when I was a graduate student at UT-Austin, I met the Boston Symphony cellist Luis Leguia, who had come to make a compact disc recording with our university symphony. He brought with him a prototype of a cello made from a very strong, very light kind of polymer reinforced with carbon fibers. He explained to his eager audience and our professor that he’d had the idea for the cello after noticing how light and durable carbon fiber boats were.