the rostanvo story
At Rostanvo, we believe all cellists deserve a better sounding instrument. A simple, easy and fair way to improve the sound you make, guaranteed. We are principled too, committed to a single gauge/tension of strings as we believe the industry standard of 3 tensions benefits no-one other than other manufacturers’ bank balances. But the help we offer goes beyond creating a great product. Whether you buy our strings or not we want cellists to better understand strings, their instrument, and how it should be set up, properly! And so read the articles on our site so you will be the best informed cellists ever.
It all started back in 2008 with the founder, Stefan Popov, a celebrated prize winning cellist and former pupil of Rostropovitch at the Moscow Conservatoire in the 1960s. He desperately wanted a better D string especially one which responded well in higher positions. The D string generally struggles to respond in the higher registers and also is almost always not balanced evenly against the naturally more powerful, clearer sounding A.
So he tried various premium brands of strings. But they sounded relatively similar to one another, nothing stood out. And so through his own ideas and a curiosity to experiment he and his son set about to have a D string created which could match the clarity and projection of the A string.
The D we developed surpassed our expectations, in every way. Powerful, crystal clear, and instantly responsive at any register. It was genuinely a revolutionary string setting a new benchmark to all others. Encouraged by our stroke of luck we continued to experiment with A, G and C strings, and since have gone through many iterative re-designs. To help us with the design process we’ve read academic research relating to string instruments to better understand the science of how strings and cellos make sound and what influences it. And most importantly we’ve listened to cellists who tried our strings, taking on board the feedback they gave us.
The result has brought us closer to the sound we, and you too, are looking for. A sound we love from being bold, open and honest. Excited by our discoveries it made sense to help other cellists benefit from the sound our strings can create, and so Rostanvo was born.
To Infinity and beyond!
As musicians we all have a constant desire to learn, improve and seek perfection. It’s a never ending process. No-one and nothing is perfect. We have taken the same approach with our strings, constantly looking at ways at improving the design and sound. Each year we review our methods, making our strings better than ever. And it won’t stop, we will continue to experiment. If we manage to develop a string we prefer we will replace our old design with the new one, keeping true to our values of committing to a single range and tension of strings.
We are now so confident of our strings we became the only manufacturer to allow returns even on used strings.
Where Does the Name "Rostanvo" Come From?
In our search for perfection everything we did had a purpose and meaning. Our innovative packaging takes up little space flat packed, needs no glue to assemble and elegantly holds our strings. The colours we chose are taken from the colour palette of cellos and our logo links back to the fundamental material of cellos, wood.
And it is no different with our name. We wanted to draw references from the cello world and so used a combination of the names of 3 of the greatest cellists to create a name deeply rooted to the cello world: Rostropovitch, Starker, and Navarra. They were all outstanding performers and teachers. For Navarra’s name the ending A is replaced with an O to echo the name of the instrument to which we are dedicated.
One of the great cellists of his generation, Stefan Popov’s life has been dedicated to his instrument and teaching of it. Performer, teacher, and innovator, Stefan Popov’s mastery of the cello is not only recognised from being a multiple prize winner but also from being one of the few cellists to be awarded “Chevalier du Violoncelle” title.
Alex Popov co-founded Rostanvo along with his father, Stefan Popov. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of Rostanvo and is the company’s chief “string listener”. A serial perfectionist himself as well as having previously been a violinist, he used his interest in science and physics to look to help our strings get ever closer to perfection.