Rococo Cello

Gilt-edged, electrifying beauty; opulence, pomp, exuberance and glamour. Welcome to the sparkling pleasure domes of the Rococo.


The early Classical period was a golden age of arts patronage, as nobles and merchants across Europe outdid each other with fabulous private commissions in every artform. In the ornate halls of the Esterházys, Frederick the Great and the Duke of Bavaria, the symphonies, operas and concerti of Mozart, Haydn and CPE Bach were first brought to life.

Described by Gramophone as “A superbly stylish, raptly intuitive performer,” Li-Wei Qin is a globe-trotting cello virtuoso, in demand worldwide as a concerto and recital artist. He joins MCO to serve us a double treat, with CPE Bach’s scintillating A-major concerto and one of the great tours de force of the cello repertoire, the Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky.


  • Li-Wei Qin is one of the most acclaimed international cellists of his generation. He is a laureate of the prestigious Tchaikovsky cello competition, and currently lives in Singapore.
  • In Mozart’s time, it was common for operas to include sections of dance. The overture and ballet music from Idomeneo is a spectacular example of Mozart’s imagination for exciting, grand orchestral writing.
  • CPE Bach was the most famous son of the great Baroque composer JS Bach. In his day, his reputation even exceeded that of his father. This concerto from 1753 has virtuosic cello solos showing the high skill of cellists from that era.



“…meltingly beautiful tone, flawless centered intonation and an ironclad technique
— New York Times


Explore & Discover

rococo cello
Concert vision: Rococo Variations

Enjoy the finale of Tchaikovsky’s dazzling Rococo Variations from Thursday’s performance at Deakin Edge.

rococo cello
Raw vision: Rehearsing the Idomeneo overture

Watch us rehearsing the thrilling Mozart overture that starts the Rococo Cello program!

rachel beesley
In the orchestra

Meet Rachael Beesley, one of Australia’s most internationally active violinists and the leader of the second violins in Rococo Cello.

Explore the music on Spotify

Curious about the music we’ll be playing in Rococo Cello? We’ve put together a Spotify playlist with selected music. Have a listen! (Free Spotify account required.)

Musician’s view

We asked Emma Sullivan, who plays double bass with MCO, for her thoughts on the music in Rococo Cello.

Cellist Li-Wei Qin

What’s life like for an international cello virtuoso? Robin Usher speaks to the soloist for Rococo Cello.

Behind the Music: Variations on a Rococo Theme

Not really based on a Rococo theme, and not even wholly by Tchaikovsky, there's more to this virtuosic masterpiece than meets the ear…

Listen to Li-Wei Qin on YouTube

Watch some past performances by our soloist, Li-Wei Qin, and hear for yourself why he is one of this generation's most acclaimed cellists!

Program Notes

Read the program notes for Rococo Cello and understand more of the background to the music in this concert.

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