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Cellist BEN HONG joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993, at age 24. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong won his native country’s National Cello Competition three years in a row before leaving home, at age 13, for the Juilliard School. Later he studied with Lynn Harrell at the University of Southern California School of Music before joining the LA Phil.
In addition to serving as Assistant Principal Cello with the LA Phil, he also performs frequently as soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. Ben has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher O’Riley, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lars Vogt, and Long Yu.
Hong’s desire to grow musically has resulted in a number of diverse opportunities. In June of 2000, he gave the U.S. premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s cello concerto Kai, with Rattle conducting the LA Phil at the Ojai Music Festival. In 2006, he performed a Bach Cello Suite with the local hip-hop orchestra, DaKah, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. That performance sparked his interest in improvisation, which is described in the upcoming book Listen to This by The New Yorker’s music critic Alex Ross.
Other recent appearances include the LA Phil premieres of Sofia Gubaidulina’s In Croce on the Green Umbrella series at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto, conducted by Long Yu at the Hollywood Bowl. Also, Hong was hired by DreamWorks to train several members of the cast of the 2009 movie, The Soloist, including Jamie Foxx and Tom Hollander. In addition, he served as an on-set technical advisor for the film and was the featured soloist on the soundtrack, which was released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.