An exceptional musician renowned for her fluid technique, gorgeous tone, and brilliant, expressive performances, cellist Hai-Ye Ni enjoys a distinguished, multi-faceted career as principal cellist of the acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra, and as a sought-after soloist and chamber musician.
A versatile artist whose performances have been praised by the press as "soulfully expressive" (Washington Post) and possessing a "superbly focused sound" (San Francisco Chronicle), Ms. Ni has performed on classical stages around the world, appearing as soloist with such symphony orchestras as Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Singapore, the Orchestre National de Paris, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others.
Her recital credits include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Wallace Collection in London. She has collaborated with some of today's foremost artists, including pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang, Yefim Bronfman, and violinists Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Christian Tetzlaff, and Pinchas Zukerman. Among her festival credits are Ravinia, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Aspen, Spoleto, La Jolla, Kuhmo, and Pablo Casals.
Highlights of recent seasons include a recital at the San Francisco Conservatory, masterclass at the Mannes College of Music, and performing in chamber music with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and violist Paul Neubauer at the Bravo Vail Festival.
During the 2010-2011 season, Ms. Ni was featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra's November 12 Sound Waves multimedia concert as soloist in composer Tan Dun's The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra. She also performed Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33 with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and appeared in recital with pianist Cecilia Licad on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's recital series. Ms. Ni made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in January 2010 in Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto in A Minor.
Past performances of special note include performances of Tan Dun's concerto with Tan Dun in July 2010 for the World Expo, and appearing in concert with pianist Lang Lang on the October 2009 Carnegie Hall series "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture". In 2004, Ms. Ni gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall, featuring works by contemporary female composers Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Chen Yi. She made her New York Philharmonic solo debut in 2003, performing Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante. In 1997, Ms. Ni premiered composer Bright Sheng's cello concerto Two Poems in a 14-city U.S. tour, in which she replaced cellist Yo-Yo Ma at his recommendation.
As a recording artist, Hai-Ye Ni's most recent CD, Spirit of Chimes, is a collaboration with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Helen Huang of composer Zhou Long's chamber music for Delos Music. Ms. Ni was featured on the March 2008 Ondine recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 and Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach. Her 1998 debut solo CD on the Naxos label was named CD of the week by Classic FM London.
Ms. Ni has given masterclasses at Curtis, Manhattan School of Music, the Shanghai Conservatory, the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and Seoul, Korea. Ms. Ni has also been featured on the ABC television show 20/20, NPR, The Strad magazine, and cover story in Strings magazine.
Considered among the most accomplished cellists of her generation, Ms. Ni first came to national attention in 1990 when she won first prize at the Naumburg International Cello Competition, and as a result, made her greatly acclaimed Alice Tully Hall debut in 1991. She became principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2006. Prior to that, Ms. Ni held the position of associate principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic (1999-2006), and was also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two. Other honors and awards to her credit include a 2001 Avery Fisher Career Grant, second prize in the 1997 Rostropovich Competition (France), first prize in the 1996 International Paulo Cello Competition (Finland), and the 1994 Best Performance of Tchaikovsky prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition (Russia).
Hai-Ye Ni was born in Shanghai, China and began her cello studies with her mother and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She emigrated to the United States in 1985 and studied with Irene Sharp at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School, and with William Pleeth in London.