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Biography
Wei Yu

Cellist Wei Yu joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2007 at age 26. Mr. Yu has been a prizewinner at the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String, Holland American Music Society Cello, Music Teacher National Association (MTNA National Collegiate Strings), Canada’s National Music Festival, Calgary’s Kiwanis Festival, and China’s National Cello competitions. He was invited to play for Mstislav Rostropovich at the Seventh American Cello Congress in 2003.

An active chamber musician, Mr. Yu has been invited to the Marlboro and Ravinia music festivals, and recently he has collaborated with musicians such as cellist David Soyer, pianists Richard Goode and Menahem Pressler, violinists Midori and Pinchas Zukerman, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. As a member of the New York Philharmonic Ensembles, he makes regular appearances at Merkin Concert Hall.

In the summers of 1998 through 2000, Wei Yu participated in the Morningside Music Bridge program at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He subsequently enrolled in the University’s Gifted Youth program under the tutelage of John Kadz and is currently on the faculty of the Morningside Music Bridge program and has given cello master classes at universities and festivals in the United States, Canada, and China.

Born in Shanghai, China, Mr. Yu began studying the cello at age four and made his concerto debut at age eleven performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. His principal teachers include Mei-Juan Liu, John Kadz, Hans Jørgen Jensen, and David Soyer. He performs on the 1778 “Ex-Soyer” Gagliano cello, on generous loan from the Marlboro Music Festival.

“When I was four, Yo-Yo Ma came to China to perform with the Shanghai Symphony. I attended the concert and saw it televised. I was fascinated by the cello’s beautiful sound and the charismatic performer. I wanted to climb into the TV and join them!”

Q&A with Wei Yu
THE FACTS: Born in Shanghai, China. Studied at Shanghai Music Conservatory; bachelor of music, North Park University, Chicago. Master’s degree, The Juilliard School, studying with David Soyer. Concerto debut at age 11 in Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. At the Philharmonic:. Joined in September 2007.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: When I was four years old, Yo-Yo Ma came to mainland China to perform with the Shanghai Symphony. My great uncle — my first cello teacher — played with that orchestra. I attended the concert and then saw it televised. I was fascinated by the cello’s beautiful sound and the charismatic performer. I wanted to climb into the TV and join them!

BEGAN INSTRUMENT AT AGE: I started cello at age four. At five, I added piano, but dropped it after two years — it was too difficult to do both. The first piece of music I fell in love with was Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which I heard in pre-school music appreciation. I loved the music and the story.

DESCRIBE YOUR ROUTE TO THE PHILHARMONIC: As a teenager, I participated in the Music Bridge summer program at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Canada, and when I was 18, I moved there to study with John Kadz. From there I went to Chicago to work with Hans Jensen of Northwestern University, and then got a full scholarship to Juilliard for my master’s.

MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES: All my cello teachers. Also the violinist Midori, who arranged for me to play for Mr. Soyer, and who took me to a New York Philharmonic concert. I’m very fortunate to have had so much support from generous musicians.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Definitely Bach. I also love Schumann’s music.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF YOUR JOB? Keeping up with the repertoire. This is my first job, and everything is new.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA? My very first concert, sharing the stage with one of my heroes, Yo-Yo Ma. It was an exciting, wonderful experience for me.

WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SEASON? Richard Goode playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 [April 3–5]. I played with him at Marlboro; he’s such an inspiring musician.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? Music for the upcoming week, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe

ARE THERE MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My great uncle. And his wife was an opera singer.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Dining out and exploring New York
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