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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 22 May

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

When a 7-Year-Old Cello Prodigy Named Yo-Yo Ma Played to the World for the First Time

This week one of the biggest stories came from Classic FM about Yo-Yo Ma’s 1962 performance for President J. F. Kennedy.

Here’s the moment a late great of the music world [Leonard Bernstein] introduced a young star onto the stage, with little idea of the beloved, cultural figurehead he would become . . . Even as a child, Ma’s performances were imbued with a sense of peace and togetherness.

ClassicFM also included this tweet of a follow-up letter that Yo-Yo Ma wrote to Bernstein

15-Year-Old Jaemin Han Becomes Youngest Ever Winner of George Enescu Competition

Congratulations to 15-year-old South Korean cellist Jaemin Han, 15, the winner of the first prize at the George Enescu International Competition! Han performed Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto at the final to become the youngest to win first place in the history of the competition.

Congratulations to 2nd-prize winner Sebastian Fritsch (age 25) of Germany and 3rd-prize winner Stefan Cazacu (age 27) of Romania, as well!

Congratulations to the Galvin Cello Quartet!

Congratulations to all of the prize winners of the 2021 Fischoff Competition, in particular, this all-cello ensemble: the Galvin Cello Quartet, winner of the Silver Prize in the Senior String Division!

Click here to see a full list of prize winners.

New York’s Music at the Anthology Appoints Cellist Amanda Gookin as New Executive Director

Amanda Gookin

Cellist Amanda Gookin has been named the new Executive Directory of Music at the Anthology (MATA), an annual festival in New York City founded by Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky, and Lisa Bielawa in 1996.

“I am honored to carry on MATA’s legacy of tireless support for living composers and to join the rest of NYC in reimagining who is creating, who is performing, and who is listening,” Gookin said.

Cello, Art, and Healing

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 14 May

Inspired by artist Trimpin and his work Ambiente432, Cellist Ruth Boden, a professor at Washington State University, is working with Pullman Regional Hospital and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, exploring connections between the arts and healing.

The “Art and Healing” exhibit attempts to address several questions regarding art and health, most prominently: How does art keep us healthy?

“There’s a lot of research that has been done over the years around art and healing that shows that integrating art into a health care setting supports physical, mental and emotional well-being,” she said. “It’s also been shown, for providers, to reduce stress, improve workplace satisfaction and employer retention.”

Click here to read the full article by Bailey Brockett.

Les 9 of Montreal – Cellist Vincent Bélanger Leads a New Musical Concept

 Cellist Vincent Bélanger created Les 9, a group of eight Canadian cellists and one double bassist.

Europe has its “12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic” and the “Cello Octet Amsterdam”, who have toured the world as concert cellists. Now, it is Montreal’s turn to have its own such concept. With this in mind, Vincent Bélanger created Les 9, a group of 8 young Canadian cellists and one double bassist, assembled as a unique merger of exceptional talents and virtuosity.

The various themes developed by Les 9 address current contemporary issues, with the hope to reach and interest a broad public as they concern us all: “the power of projecting ourselves beyond what divides us.”

Cellist Jerry Zhou – Using Music and Medicine to Comfort Others

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 14 May

Jerry Zhou. Photo by Sydney Holmes.

Yale University (class of ’21) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major, Jerry Zou, combines his love of music and medicine. A cellist, he is also the co-founder of Yale undergraduates at Connecticut Hospice.

The group’s members attend to patients in Branford, Connecticut — feeding them, washing them, listening. And in Zhou’s case, performing.

“There were always a few who would be rolled out from their room,” he said. “I don’t think it was because my cello playing was so great; I think music is just our most fundamental language.”

Local Sound Recordist and Cellist Features Natural Sounds of Animals

Doug Carroll Redwood News story

A Redwood News Community Spotlight featured cellist and sound recordist, Doug Carroll. He said:

“Music is communicating emotions. Language is communicating ideas. That’s how I think our whole body of music developed – was from these very primitive animal sounds.”


Creative Measures Podcast – Gloria Lum: Cellist, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Founder of Audition Confidential

Here is the podcast description:

After sitting on more audition committees than she can remember Gloria Lum knows a little something about what it takes to win a position in an orchestra.

Gloria and I talk about how she landed a position in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the mistakes most musicians make when preparing for and taking an audition, and what inspired her to become an audition coach.


Mount Vernon Virtuosi, Amit Peled Conductor and Soloist

Cellist Hai-Ye Ni – “Rococo Variations” with the Reading Symphony Orchestra

Concert program:

  • VAUGHAN WILLIAMS – Five Variants of “Dives and Lazarus”
  • HAYDN – Symphony No. 92 in G Major “Oxford”
  • TCHAIKOVSKY – Rococo Variations
  • Featured soloist: Hai-Ye Ni, principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
  • Guest conductor: Caleb Young, of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

“Motherless Child” – Amit Peled and the  Asheville Symphony, Darko Butorac, Music Director

Gabriel Martins – J.S. Bach: Violin Sonata No. 1 in g minor, BWV 1001

Alexis Descharmes – Celloscope#53: Les Damnés

Rupert Gillett – JAZZ CELLO TUNES: Cantina Band

2CELLOS Luka Sulic and Hauser Playing Demons by Imagine Dragons

American Songwriter interviewed Hauser about this new video and their artistic process. Here is a short excerpt:

“It is hugely satisfying to look back at the last 10 years,” Hauser said. “We were music college graduates in 2011, but once we uploaded ‘Smooth Criminal,’ our lives changed. We have traveled the world, met amazing people, worked with incredible artists, played to fantastic audiences and released five albums. We are proud to have remained true to our music. We always loved what we could do with the cello, and it has been so rewarding to share that with so many.”

Laurie Anderson’s NPR “Tiny Desk (Home) Concert”

  • Laurie Anderson: vocals, electronics, violin
  • Roma Baran: synthesizer
  • Rubin Kodheli: cello

Your Turn

Have cello news you’d like included? Please get in touch.