Cellist Brannon Cho ’17 has been awarded the $35,000 János Starker Foundation Award for 2020. The biennial award is given to a cellist, age 30 or younger, who has already begun a significant career in music.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive the award in memory of Janos Starker, who was one of the first cellists to lead my heart and soul to the cello, and whose recordings continue to inspire my imagination as a cellist. I will always strive to uphold the standard of excellence that he pioneered,” Cho said.

The Janos Starker Foundation’s mission is to identify, promote, and to provide financial assistance to deserving young cellists through its competition award. The Foundation seeks to assist exceptional young musicians in advancing their music careers.

Brannon Cho

Described by Arto Noras as “a finished artist, ready to play in any hall in the world,” Cho has emerged as an outstanding musician of his generation. He is the first prize winner of the prestigious 6th International Paulo Cello Competition in Finland, and is also a prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth, Naumburg, and Cassadó International Cello Competitions.

He has appeared as a soloist with many of the top orchestras around the world, including the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, and Orchestre Philharmonique Royale Liège, under world-renowned conductors such as Susanna Mälkki, Stéphane Denève, and Christian Arming.

As an experienced chamber musician, Cho has shared the stage with artists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Christian Tetzlaff, Gidon Kremer, and Joshua Bell. His recent festival appearances include Marlboro, Kronberg Academy, Music@Menlo, and Verbier. Recent and upcoming solo performance highlights include debut recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Kumho Art Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.

Born in New Jersey, Cho received his bachelor’s degree from the Bienen School of Music under Hans Jørgen Jensen. He was awarded the prestigious Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser. Currently, he is a student of Frans Helmerson in the professional studies program at the Kronberg Academy.

  • Hans Jensen
  • Brannon Cho