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Wu Chih-ch'i

Hi everyone! My name is Brandon and I am from Singapore. I took up the cello when I was 10. It has been 9 years since I first started learning the instrument and the cello has really been a good friend to me, because it is always there whenever I need it. After all, it can never say things like "I'm not free now", isn't it? By learning the cello, I have also made several wonderful friends that I would probably not have met had I not taken up the instrument.

When I was 7, I joined the Chinese orchestra in my elementary school. My first instrument was the ruan, a round-shaped Chinese plucked-string instrument. Most Chinese orchestras these days have adopted the cello and double bass as a permanent bass voice, even though they are western instruments. When I was 9, I switched to the cello because my instructor needed cellists in the orchestra. I made some progress, so she recommended me to join the People's Association Youth Chinese Orchestra.

Playing cello in a Chinese orchestras has its rewards, but composers of Chinese music have not, in my opinion, fully exploited the virtuositic qualities of the instrument. Most of the time, all a cellist in a Chinese orchestra gets to play is to reinforce the bass voice of the plucked-string section by playing pizzicato or to double the huqin's (2 string fiddle with a small, cylindrical sound box covered with snake skin and no fingerboard. The bow is attached to the instrument and clasped between the strings. It is held in the same manner as the viola Da Gamba-palms up.) melody by an octave below.

Due to my desire to learn more, I quit playing in Chinese orchestras and started studying the instrument seriously by learning it in the western tradition when I was 10. After 1 year's of lessons, I joined the Singapore Youth Orchestra, the only youth symphony orchestra in the country. For 8 years, I have revered in the joy of discovering what the cello can do and I am grateful for the knowledge that my past 4 teachers have given me. When I was 17, I made my public debut playing Hadyn's cello concerto in C with the Singapore Youth Orchestra. I was wrecked by nerves on the day of the performance and it wasn't a perfect delivery, but still, I enjoyed the experience and I would grab the chance to play solo with an orchestra again.

Right now, I am without a cello teacher and I would be conscripted into the army on the 18th of Febuary. I am now studying "Le Grand Tango", a piece for solo cello and piano by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. I hope to be able to decide on my career path by the end of this year.


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Brandon Wu Chih-ch'i.


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