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Whether you’re a novice cellist or an experienced player, mastering songs to entertain friends, family, and public groups is an accomplishment that many individuals strive to attain. When auditioning for orchestras or performing in front of crowds, the mastery of songs is also useful. Deciding which songs to memorize and perfect can be a challenge as there are thousands of incredible compositions available. Below is a handful of great songs to consider when looking to enhance your live performances and delight your audience.


Benjamin Britten’s Suite for Cello No.1

Progressing through nine movements, this suite is a challenging but rewarding composition. Dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, Britten’s piece is expressive and emotional, and each of its movements holds features that are attractive and engaging for players and audience members alike.


Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor

A piece that demonstrates the depth of the instrument, Dvořák’s concerto serves to highlight the cello. When composing this piece, Dvořák was faced with the difficult task of making an instrument with such low tones stand out in an orchestra. Rather than lower the playing volume of the rest of the performers, he arranged the piece so that the solo cello could be heard during combinations with various wind soloists. The result is a dramatic yet delicate piece that highlights the beauty of the cello.


Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor

The music of the cello has, in some cases, been compared to the sounds made by the human voice; Elgar’s compositions provide prime examples of this phenomenon. His concerto puts the cello in the forefront with delicate, dark, and somber music, highlighting the range and depth of the instrument. The solos in this piece are especially captivating.


Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourree No.1 from Cello Suite No.3

Unlike some of the other compositions featured here, this piece is remarkably light and uplifting. To showcase the rich texture of the music that cellos can produce, this bourree is undeniably beautiful and emotional. This piece is especially great for beginners to learn as it was written as practice material, progressing from simple to complex demands as the song unfolds.


There are a number of other songs you can master on the cello regardless of skill level or years of experience. The most important thing you can do when endeavoring to master a song is to focus on a piece you enjoy and hone your skills in a meaningful way so that you can continue to improve.