Discover the journey of a cellist of exceptional talent, Stella Cho

Performing in the most prestigious orchestras around the world, from The Royal Albert Hall to the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, winning many awards, touring the world like a rock star, appearing on television... Stella Cho has been praised by the industry and never misses a chance to share her talent with the younger generation. Let's explore her path to success and learn more about her generous nature.

Stella Cho was born in Busan, South Korea, where she chose the instrument that would never leave her : the cello. When she was 9 years old, her father's job brought her and her family to the United Kingdom. As a child, her parents made her experience many cultures, so it was only natural that they would support her musical career: her father, a lifelong classical music lover, and her mother, who wished for her to pursue a career she loves, took her to see Beethoven's birthplace in Bonn and Mozart's city, Salzburg, as examples.

“This combination was the foundation where I was able to fully pursue my musical career without much hesitation or hardships.”-- says Stella Cho

Inspired by her new environment, Stella Cho practiced hard, and around the age of 13 years old, she met Kathryn Price, an incredibly dedicated cello teacher who introduced her to a vast amount of cello repertoire and pushed her limits as a young cellist. 

Stella Cho studied intensively with her for two years before winning her first prize, which was crucial for her career: the Texaco Young Musician of Wales competition in 2005, which led to her debut at Royal Albert Hall.

From her solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the age of fifteen to her television broadcast.

Winning the Texaco Young Musician of the Year competition was just the beginning. Stella became the recipient of the MBF Geoffrey Shaw Scholarship in 2008, won the Hattori Award in 2008, the Culver City Symphony Concerto competition in 2010, The Fine Arts Club of Pasadena's Performing Arts competition in 2011, and later on, the Concerto Competitions in 2021.

She has performed on numerous occasions on national radio stations including the BBC radio, the Dutch National Radio, and the Southern California based classical music radio station KUSC.

Stella Cho even participated in the BBC Two television show "Classical Star," where she finished as a semi-finalist. In this classical talent show, musicians compete to win a recording contract and launch their musical careers. During the first programme, 18 candidates compete for nine places at Musical Director Matthew Barley's Academy over two intensive days in London. Under the scrutiny of the judges, which included conductor Charles Hazlewood and music mogul Steve Abbott, the young players were asked to improvise, complete demanding interviews, and perform to the best of their ability.

Traveling the route to success

Strong of these experiences, Stella Cho started touring extensively, being invited to perform in numerous renowned music festivals around the world : including Aspen in 2009 and 2010, Yellow Barn in 2012, Casals in 2013 and 2018, the Perlman Music Program in 2014, La Jolla SummerFest in 2015, Banff Chamber Music Festival in 2015, and IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music in 2016, and more recently Ravinia in 2021 and 2022.

As a passionate chamber musician, Stella has been part of many chamber ensembles and continues to achieve great recognition: 

She won Honorable Mention in the 2012 Coleman National Chamber Music Competition with the Accord Quintet, and as a founding member of the Huntington Quartet, she won the 2014 NEC Honors Ensemble Competition and has performed extensively throughout the New England region, including her debut at Jordan Hall, Boston (2015).

A solo career and a learning experience with the best

Stella Cho was selected as one of the Holland Music Sessions’ “New Masters on Tour” in 2015 and gave solo recitals across Europe, including the  Royal Concertgebouw and the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, which gave her the opportunity to pursue a solo career.

The competitive streak in her led to her winning the USC Solo Bach Competition in 2012, and she was able to take masterclasses with renowned cellists such as Frans Helmerson, Joel Krosnick, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Gary Hoffman and Timothy Eddy, and perform solo recitals throughout South Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Croatia, and the United States.

In her capacity as a fully rounded and highly accomplished cellist, Stella Cho collaborated with some of the best musicians of the century and performed with them on stage. Here are just a few names from that list :
The world-renowned cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, the violinist and conductor of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Jaime Laredo, the Grammy-nominated cellist Sharon Robinson, the international pianist Joseph Kalichstein, and the violinist and Boston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster for 22 years Joseph Silverstein.
Stella Cho is not only a talented musician and performer, she is a true artist who is passionate about her craft. In 2012, she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Music degree from USC Thornton School of Music and a Master of Music degree in 2014 from the prestigious Gregor Piatigorsky Studio. In 2016, she completed further graduate studies at the New England Conservatory under Laurence Lesser, and recently completed her doctorate of musical arts at USC. She was then named the Outstanding DMA Graduate of 2021 and inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. 

Performing and transmitting always.

Upon graduating, Stella Cho expressed her desire to teach cello in higher education in the near future.
Following her education with the world's greatest musicians and making her name among them, Stella Cho is achieving another of her dreams : transmitting her knowledge to the younger generation. She is currently on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Aside from teaching, Stella Cho performs as a cellist in the conductorless chamber orchestra Delirium Musicum and the SAKURA Cello Quintet.

Upcoming performances:
- Salon de Musiques Chamber Music series in La Jolla, CA, Saturday, June 12, 2022
-  Chamber music concerts at Sunset ChamberFest in Glendale, CA Saturday, June 18, 2022
 - Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL in June and July 2022   
- the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, IL in July 2022  (the concert will also be broadcasted on WFMT).  
There are album releases to look forward to as well, with both of the ensembles Stella Cho is part of -- exact release date has not been announced yet. Stay tuned and follow Stella Cho on Instagram.

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