Cello-playing siblings come together for Calgary concert
Estelle and Arnold Choi bring family ties front and centre at U of C's Rozsa Centre on Friday
By David Bell, CBC News Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:44 PM MT Last Updated: Jan 11, 2018 5:44 PM MT
They have each made their mark on the world of classical music, and on Friday they will bring their talents together for a concert in Calgary.
Arnold Choi, the principal cellist with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and his sister Estelle Choi, cellist with the New York City-based Calidore String Quartet, found their respective loves of cello at early ages in a musically gifted Calgary family.
"It was a very noisy musical household," Arnold told The Homestretch on Thursday.
"We have two older siblings who are pianists. If you can imagine two pianos blasting and two cellos in different bedrooms at the same, it was chaos at some points."
Estelle says she benefited from being Arnold's younger sibling.
"Arnold would always outgrow his cello, so I would get the hand-me-downs. So economically it made sense for me to start the cello as well," she explained.
'Spark that drove me'
It was witnessing a master perform that piqued Arnold's interest in the cello at a young age.
"I still remember when I was eight years old, listening to Yo-Yo Ma play with the CPO. That memory stuck with me forever. That was the spark that drove me to continue my cello studies," Arnold said.
"Just as human being, he just seems to shine this light and make everyone around him feel wonderful. Seeing this incredible classical music rock star playing in our wonderful city, I definitely highly regard Yo-Yo Ma as well," Estelle added.
'It can be grueling'
She says she's living her dream, playing with the award-winning Calidore String Quartet in New York.
"It can be grueling," Estelle said.
"My quartet is on the road about 70 per cent of the year, so we don't end up seeing our apartments in New York City very much. But it is a huge commitment, you make a lot of sacrifices. In a quartet you really have equal ownership of the business, and it's very rewarding to be able to put out a product that you are really proud of."
Arnold says family ties will be front and centre when he performs with Estelle and her quartet on Friday.
"Not only are we siblings, but we both studied the cello with the same teachers, so we have a similar style. We are able to match sounds and read each other's body language because we've known each other for so long."
Estelle says she's looking forward to it.
"This Friday we get to add another member to the group and that just adds to the enjoyment of bringing music to people."
Concert details can be found here.
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