An exceptional musician renowned for her fluid technique, gorgeous tone and brilliantly expressive performances, cellist Hai-Ye Ni enjoys a distinguished, multifaceted career as principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and as a sought-after soloist and chamber musician. A versatile artist who has been praised by the press as “soulfully expressive” (Washington Post) and who produces a “superbly focused sound” (San Francisco Chronicle), Ms. Ni has performed on classical stages around the world, appearing as soloist with orchestras such as Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, the China Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Her recital credits include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Phillips Collection and the Wallace Collection in London. She has collaborated with many of today’s foremost artists, including pianists Lang Lang, Jeffrey Kahane, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Yefim Bronfman, violinists Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Christian Tetzlaff, Cho-Liang Lin and Leonidas Kavakos, and the Miró and Shanghai quartets. Among her festival credits are Green Music Center ChamberFest in Sonoma, Ravinia, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Aspen, Spoleto, Kuhmo and Pablo Casals in Prades.
Ms. Ni recently performed Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Finland, the Brahms “Double” Concerto, Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto and John Williams’s Memoirs of a Geisha with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Kalamazoo Symphony. She also premiered Marc-André Hamelin’s Four Perspectives at La Jolla SummerFest. In the 2017-2018 season, she will be featured at a cello festival at the Central Conservatory in Beijing, solo with the Shanghai Philharmonic and perform as a guest artist at the University of Maryland.
Prior notable performances include a program of Baroque concerti with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra where Ms. Ni was featured as both soloist and conductor. She appeared with pianist Lang Lang in the October 2009 Carnegie Hall concert series “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture.” Ms. Ni made her Philadelphia Orchestra solo debut in January 2010, performing the Saint-Saëns concerto with Maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, followed by the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations and Tan Dun’s The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra. In 1997, Ms. Ni premiered composer Bright Sheng’s cello concerto, Two Poems, in a 14-city U.S. tour where she replaced cellist Yo-Yo Ma at his recommendation.
Hai-Ye Ni’s 1998 solo recording on the Naxos label was named “CD of the Week” by Classic FM London. Another recording, Spirit of Chimes (on the Delos label), represents her collaboration with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Helen Huang on composer Zhou Long’s chamber music. Ms. Ni is also featured on the Ondine recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach.
Born in Shanghai, Hai-Ye Ni first came to international attention in 1990 when she won first prize at the Naumburg International Cello Competition, an achievement that was quickly followed by her greatly acclaimed Alice Tully Hall debut. Other honors and awards include a 2001 Avery Fisher Career Grant, second prize in the 1997 Rostropovich Competition (France), first prize in the 1996 International Paulo Cello Competition (Finland), and the 1994 Best Performance of Tchaikovsky prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Russia).
Ms. Ni has been featured on ABC’s “20/20,” on National Public Radio, in The Strad magazine and in a cover story of Strings magazine. She is a visiting professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and has given master classes at the Curtis Institute, Temple University, the Mannes School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and Beijing’s Central Conservatory. She served on the jury of Finland’s Fifth Paulo International Cello competition in 2013 and the Naumburg competition in 2015.
Ms. Ni was associate principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic (1999-2006) and a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two. She began her studies with her mother and at the Shanghai Conservatory, then studied with Irene Sharp at the San Francisco Conservatory, Joel Krosnick at Juilliard, and William Pleeth in London.
Beethoven Triple concerto
Boccherini in Bb major
Brahms Double concerto
Bright Sheng “Two Poems” for cello and orchestra
C.P.E. Bach in C minor
Dutilleux concerto “ tout un monde lointain…”
Dvorak “Silent Woods”
Haydn C Major and D major
Milhaud Concerto No.1, Op.136
Paul Moravec concerto for cello and orchestra
Prokofiev Sinfonia concertante Op.125
Saint Saens in A minor
Strauss “Don Quixote”
Tan Dun “The Map” Concerto for cello, orchestra and video
Tan Dun “Crouching Tiger” concerto
Tartini concerto in D major
Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations
Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso
Vivaldi concertos in A minor RV418, Bb major RV424, Eb major RV 408
Sonata No.2 in D major Felix Mendelssohn
Sonata in C major Benjamin Britten
Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major, Op.119 Sergie Prokofiev
Suite populaire espagnole Emanuel de Falla
It was a great pleasure to have Hai-Ye here. She gave a wonderful class and a tremendous concert.
University of Maryland
“Masterful Strings” series
April 24-25, 2018
Hai-Ye Ni performs with Marc-Andre Hamelin at La Jolla Summerfest
It’s no surprise that a passionate advocate for pianist-composers should also be a fine composer. Hamelin’s “Four Perspectives” for cello and piano are well versed in mid-20th-century expressionism. This was cross-pollinated with the brutalism of early Soviet avant-garde music or the primitivism of ornery Americans like Antheil and Ornstein, repertory that Hamelin has lovingly explored as a pianist.
It was revealing, though, to hear a Hamelin opus that was not a remix — however clever and entertaining — of piano repertory. Most of his recorded compositions are such works, and while undeniably well-written, they seem more homages to earlier music than personal statements. Whether Wednesday’s premiere marked a new direction for Hamelin, or if he has a back catalog of similar works to be heard, it was good to experience a new perspective of this fascinating musician.
His cello part carried most of the music’s argument, and cellist Hai-Ye Ni proved a persuasive interpreter. The piano was subdued and confined to the low registers through the first two movements, coming to the fore in the last two movements with pulsing, grinding chords that jumped all over the keyboard, all confidently handled by Hamelin.
August 25, 2016