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The Daily Tar Heel

'A beautiful opportunity to broaden perspective': CPA welcomes Philadelphia Orchestra

Memorial Hall is draped in CPA banners for their 22'-23' season on August 7, 2022. Carolina Performing Arts shares their Fall 2022 schedule of events on their website.

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.

“To the general student population, I think it’s a beautiful opportunity to broaden perspective,” Kendall said. She added that music can remind people of the potential they have to work as a collective group. 

She also said attending something like a live performance helps students consider how to hone a craft, work with others toward a common goal and strive for excellence in whatever field they are pursuing.

Brent Wissick, a professor in the UNC Department of Music, hosted the master class featuring Kendall. He said the chance to learn one-on-one with Kendall was "brilliant" because her teaching was not only smart and focused on the cello but was also "deeply human" and went beyond music. 

Wissick also said he thinks the orchestra’s performance enlightened and inspired many students, reminding the audience that programs can mix and match things they might not think can be joined together. 

"The Philadelphia Orchestra is so superb and has such a legacy of excellence," he said. "The fact that their current music director and the things they are doing are so imaginative."

Wissick added that he hopes the orchestra and similar groups visit UNC in the future because of the impact their diverse programming choices can have on the audience.

“They’re not just going to bring concerts here by wonderful, old, dead white men – music that’s still good – but [they] are going to offer programming that makes our world bigger and helps us think more broadly,” he said.


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