Timo-Veikko Valve has been in a long-term relationship for around six years and he's excited to bring his partner to Wollongong this week.
The pair have a chemistry like no other and have made beautiful music together in front of thousands of people Australia-wide.
But Valve can't help but know his partner has been handled by many others for 400 years.
"I randomly met the instrument in London and it seemed to click and we tried to make it happen and brought it," said Valve, the principal cellist for the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Just like Thor is magnetically drawn to his hammer so too is Valve to his precious Italian-born cello, an instrument older than some of the pieces he will perform with an ACO ensemble at Wollongong Town Hall on Thursday night.
Valve hasn't found a name for his friend (unlike his last relationship with "Barry", the cello with a deep chocolatey tone), but he knew it was love at first sight and did everything he could to have her included in the orchestra's "instrument fund" as he wouldn't have been able to afford the dowry to bring it home.
"In terms of our relationship together, that's still relatively early days, and it could take a couple of years to understand each other's quirks. It's an interesting journey that we go on together," Valve said.
"It's been very inspiring, and for us musicians to have access to this sort of instrument ... it develops our own playing."
Unlike a tinny-sounding old piano which hasn't been played in decades, Valve said one of the keys to preserving the sound of an instrument was to play it - while the orchestra does have specialists to keep it in tune.
"I like the analogy with beautifully aged wine ... you have a wine that has gained some age and that's developed in body and has kind of developed in-depth," he said.
"The main thing would be that, much like an old piano that starts to sound like a little bit worn out, it's probably because it hasn't been played much."
Valve is part of an intimate ensemble of the ACO who will perform Postcards from Italy, on Thursday, September 14 at Wollongong Town Hall.
The program will feature music from JS Bach, Tchaikovsky, and 21st-century Italian cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima.
Valve and several of his ACO colleagues will be performing on precious Italian instruments crafted in the Golden Age - a period lasting from the 17th century to the middle 18th century in Cremona, Italy.
The Golden Age is regarded as the pinnacle of fine string instrument making, with instruments from this period prized around the world for their tonal excellence, design, and beauty.
The Postcards from Italy tour will begin in Wollongong before traveling to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
For tickets and more details, visit: www.aco.com.au.