In 2004, Fundación Banco Santander offered musician Asier Polo the use of its 17th-century cello. Lending string instruments of great historical and musical value to prominent musicians is quite common in institutions dedicated to musical patronage.
The cello was made in 1689 by Francesco Ruggieri, a luthier from the prestigious Cremona school, which turned out instruments fashioned from high-quality woods and famed for the beauty of their sound. Ruggieri imitated the model developed by his master Nicolò Amati, making the body slightly larger and the fholes shorter and wider. The instrument has the added value of pre-dating the modern cello, whose proportions were established by Stradivari around the year 1700.
Asier Polo is viewed by experts as the best cellist in Spain. He has performed as a soloist with the most prestigious orchestras in the world and participates in important musical events. He combines his successful musical career with teaching at the Centro Superior de Música del País Vasco and Forum Musikae.