The New York Philharmonic

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Sumire Kudo joined the Philharmonic as a cellist in June 2006. Previously she taught at Indiana University–South Bend and was the cellist of the Avalon String Quartet. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kudo began cello studies at age four with her father, cellist Akiyoshi Kudo. She came to the United States in 2000, after establishing herself in her native country through solo performances and recordings. Her honors include the Hideo Saito Memorial Fund Award, which she received from the Sony Music Foundation after being chosen by Seiji Ozawa and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi as the most promising cellist in 2005, and prizes at the Sapporo Junior Cello Competition and 62nd Japan Music Competition. Kudo is a graduate of Tokyo’s Toho School and The Juilliard School. She has participated in the Nagano-Aspen Music, Aspen Music, Santa Fe, and Marlboro Music festivals. Record Geijutsu, Japan’s leading classical music magazine, named her second solo CD, Love of Beauty, Best Recording.

“I started playing the violin at two, but I kept wanting to play it like a cello. On my fourth birthday I got a tiny cello.”

Q&A with Sumire Kudo

THE FACTS: Born in Tokyo, Japan. Attended Toho School, Tokyo, and The Juilliard School. Studied with her father, cellist Akiyoshi Kudo, Yoritoyo Inoue, Hakuro Mori, Harvey Shapiro, and The Juilliard String Quartet. Prior to the Philharmonic: cellist of the Avalon String Quartet; taught at Indiana University in South Bend (2004–06), where the quartet was in residence. Appearances with Marlboro Music Festival and other venues. Received Hideo Saito Memorial Fund Award from the Sony Music Foundation in 2005; second prize, 62nd Japan Music Competition in 1993. Solo performances with New Japan Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and others. At the Philharmonic: Joined in June 2006. Most recent recording: Love of Beauty (solo CD on Philips), named Best Recording by Record Geijutsu magazine.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My father playing the cello at home, and my mother singing and playing the piano. My father was a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; my mother was a singer and piano teacher. I started playing the violin at two but I kept imitating the cello. I couldn't understand why I had to put the violin under my chin — I wanted to do the same thing my father was doing with the cello. Finally, on my fourth birthday, they bought me a tiny cello. I remember being very excited.

FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: Bartók string quartets. I was in the fourth grade. I was fascinated by the rhythm and emotional harmonies. That's when I knew that becoming a musician was what I really wanted to do.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My former colleagues in the Avalon String Quartet. I matured so much musically as a quartet cellist before joining the Philharmonic.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: My first day. I was very nervous, but everyone was very supportive. Also, every summer at Bravo! Vail, Principal Cello Carter Brey hosts a "cello party" for the section, and we have a tradition of celebrating each other's birthdays backstage during intermission. The Philharmonic cello section is the best!

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: Beethoven, Schubert, Messiaen, Bartók, and Dutilleux. Dutilleux's music is beautiful. It makes me think of space, human existence, and ultimate beauty.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I love walking in Central Park with my beloved pit bull, Cinnamon, a.k.a. Cimanum. I'm also passionate about Japanese food — I am always up for finding great Japanese restaurants and recipes, and I would like to be a great cook one day.

As of November 2013

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