Yumi Kendall, now in her 20th season as a cellist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, said she grew up surrounded by music because of her trailblazing grandfather, who brought the Suzuki method of music education from Japan to the U.S. in the 1960s.
When referring to her decision to pursue music during her senior year of high school, Kendall described the endeavor as “taking green lights in life.”
“I didn’t decide until the day after my SATs, because all of my friends were working on their personal essays and I thought, ‘My personal essay is cello,'" she said.
While studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Kendall became a substitute cellist for the orchestra. After graduating, she won the position of assistant principal cello through a rigorous audition process.
Kendall taught a master class on Wednesday at UNC as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra's two-day visit to campus through Carolina Performing Arts. CPA hosted shows coupled with various public events throughout the week including discussions, conversations with musicians and open classrooms.
The array of musical events celebrates the 50th anniversary of the orchestra’s trip to China – a feat that earned them the title of the first American ensemble to perform within the country.
The concerts also inaugurate CPA’s 2023-24 season.
Kari Lindquist, a UNC graduate student studying music history, attended the first event of the week on Tuesday evening at the CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio. The discussion was led by violinist Renard Edwards and harpsichordist Davyd Booth as they reminisced on their travels to China in 1973 — an introduction to the cultural exchange of music for both musicians.
Lindquist said the week’s events were important because they had the power to show how music can involve interdisciplinary opportunities.