Northwestern sophomore to compete in international Tchaikovsky competition

Madeline Fox, Assistant Campus Editor

Bienen sophomore cellist Brannon Cho was selected to participate in this year’s International Tchaikovsky Competition, making him one of only 51 cellists invited to the prestigious contest this summer.

The competition, held every four years, has students compete in cello, piano, violin and voice. Contestants must apply to the competition and, once there, go through three qualifying rounds to select the 25 individuals who will advance to the final round.

“It’s been a very big dream of mine for the past several years because, as a classical musician, everyone knows about this competition,” Cho said. “It’s a huge deal to have been invited to participate.”

Cho has been studying under Bienen Prof. Hans Jorgen Jensen since he was 11 years old, and says the professor was the deciding factor in his choosing to attend NU. Two of Jensen’s private students, one from the United States and one from China, will also be competing in the cello competition.

“He has been fantastic,” Cho said of Jensen. “You’ll never see another teacher quite as dedicated as he is to his students.”

Cho will be performing with his unique cello, a rare instrument made by renowned Italian violin and cello maker Antonio Casini in 1668. Cho’s parents bought him the cello in October after he spent months searching for the right instrument, and moved into a smaller house to pay for the cello.

“They constantly have made huge sacrifices for me,” Cho said. “As an instrumentalist, it can get really expensive if you seriously pursue a career.”

The music performance major will hold two recitals in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall prior to the competition to showcase the music he has been learning, which he said is the most he’s had to learn in such a short period of time. The competition runs from June 10 to July 3.

“It’s really difficult to reach that standard and pull it off at such a high pressure international stage,” Cho said. “But me and Mr. Jensen have been working really hard, and everything’s coming along really well, so I think once my preparation here is done, I’ll feel very confident.”

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