Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sun Valley Artist Series to feature Ben Hong

Cellist to be accompanied by pianist Peter Henderson

Express Staff Writer

Ben Hong will perform for the Sun Valley Artist Series at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum on Feb. 12. Photo by

The Sun Valley Artist Series continues its season of concerts with a classical music cello recital by Ben Hong. Hong will be accompanied by pianist Peter Henderson. The concert will take place at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. A meet-the-artist reception will follow the performance in the church lobby. Tickets are $37 and available at local Ketchum bookstores or online at

The evening's selection of works will include Divertimento in D Major, Hob. IV:6, by Joseph Hayden, Sonata for Arpeggione or Cello and Piano in A minor, D.821, by Franz Schubert, Sonate No. 1 pour violoncelle et piano in D minor, L. 135, by Claude Debussy and Sonata for Piano and Violoncello No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1 by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Hong joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993 at age 24, making him the youngest member of the orchestra at that time. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong won his native country's National Cello Competition three years in a row before leaving home at 13 for the Juilliard School. Later, he studied with Lynn Harrell at the University of Southern California School of Music.

In addition to performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as assistant principal cellist, he also performs frequently as soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. Hong has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Cho-Liang Lin, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher O'Riley, Sir Simon Rattle, Shanghai String Quartet, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lars Vogt and Long Yu.

In July 2008 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, he was the soloist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's premiere of Tan Dun's "Crouching Tiger Concerto" conducted by Long Yu. Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed wrote, "This was 26 minutes of really enchanting music played really well. The amplification was cranked up high yet without distortion, and the Bowl was magically bathed in Hong's bold, gorgeous tone."

Hong was hired by Dreamworks film studio to train several members of the cast of the movie "The Soloist," including Jamie Foxx and Tom Hollander. He also served as an on-set technical advisor. Hong's playing is featured on the film's soundtrack. Hong's other interests include working on and riding his three sports motorcycles, bicycling, scuba diving, martial arts and West African drumming.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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