Cecilia Tsan - Cellist


One thing the audience and I can agree on: Cécilia Tsan's performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto was a magnificent achievement, and the concert's highlight. Her beautiful sound filled the cavernous auditorium with ease, and her musicality was everywhere apparent. She managed to squeeze every drop of emotion she could squeeze out of Elgar's autumnal valedictory, while at the same time overcoming its many technical challenges. Pablo Casals's "Song of the Birds" was a moving encore. This memorable experience is sure to be a hallmark of a season that is as yet only half over.

Grunion Gazette Feb 6, 2015 Jim Ruggirello

The Elgar is not a show-piece of brilliance but rather a reflection of his time, just at the end of World War I. It asks the cellist to play virtually the whole work and the orchestra to support her without overpowering the cello's voice. Tsan played brilliantly, passionately, with an idea of the whole work in her mind. She knew the work was about sorrow, looking back, and she played that way, convincing the audience with her emotions as well as her skilled fingering, her deeply moving ear for details. The orchestra responded with its own passion, and the work was a triumph. As an encore, Tsan, originally from France, played "Song of the Birds," a traditional Catalan folk song arranged by cellist Pablo Casals. She offered it, she said, as a tribute to the victims of terror in France and as a way to find peace.

Press Telegram Feb2, 2015 John Farrell

Cellist Cecilia Tsan's playing was noteworthy for her rich tones and seamless legato lines. February 2013

The centerpiece of the evening was a new Piano Trio by hip 34-year old Eric Tanguy who lives in Paris and writes music for superstar soloists like violinist Renaud Capuçon. Cellist Cécilia Tsan and her Pantoum Trio pals, violinist Teresa Tereza Stanislav and pianist Steven Vanhauwaert, were the commanding stars, particularly the Trio's dedicatee Tsan; for much of the entire 15 minutes. Tanguy not only ingeniously stretched and luxuriously exploited the limits of what a cellist can do in 2012, he factored in Tsan's warm, expansive, joyful personality.

The Huffington Post November 2012

Violinist Tereza Stanislav, Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Cecilia Tsan, principal cellist of the Long Beach Symphony, New West Symphony, and occasionally at Pasadena Symphony; and Wunderkind pianist Steven Vanhauwaert have combined their talents as the Pantoum Trio, and what an ensemble it is. Pianist Vanhauwaert's nimble fingers and light touch, with the added grit and energy from Tsan's cello were the perfect foil for Stanislav's piquant violin. A perfectly blended program, musically, began with the soft, gentle Schubert piece, "Notturno" in E-flat major. Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1 in D-minor followed the Schubert with its dazzling lyricism; and after intermission, Ravel's Piano Trio in A-minor, a kind of wind-up to a delicious afternoon given that composer's exotic harmonies. Pantoum Trio achieved beautiful balances in the Schubert, highlighting its gentleness. In the Mendelssohn, Vanhauwaert's sparkling keyboard clarity and startling glissandos only enhanced the determined playing by Stanislav and Tsan. The after-intermission Ravel, given the French composer's Asian or Chinese garden inspired harmonies, kept the afternoon chamber performance keenly sharp.

Peters Music News September 2012

Saturday night, Cécilia Tsan took on the Dvorák concerto and knocked it out of the park.Her warm, beautiful tone filled the hall from start to finish. Needless to say, the performance was technically dazzling..... Throughout she played with a fire and a commitment that were breathtaking. Resplendent in a stunning Chinese good-luck red gown, Tsan led us on a captivating journey through Dvorák's tuneful masterpiece.

Press Telegram, April 2012

That soloist was our own Cécilia Tsan, who has led the LBSO cello section with distinction for some years now. She gave a masterful performance of the Lalo concerto, which nobody will ever mistake for a masterpiece. But Lalo does offer the soloist numerous opportunities to display sensitive musicality and technical finesse, which Tsan did in spades. She possesses a remarkably beautiful tone, which had no trouble filling the cavernous auditorium, and gave a totally committed, passionate performance. Diemecke and the orchestra responded with exemplary, equally committed, support. At several places in the concerto, there were magical, breathtaking moments.

Jim Ruggierello, November 08

Cecilia Tsan played the difficult and rewarding Cello Concerto by Edouard Lalo, one of the best-known works in the cello repertory (and one of only a few of Lalo's many works still to be performed regularly). Tsan, who studied cello in her native Versailles, France, is a performer of great talent, and from the first moment her instrument was heard, the tone was full and proud and elegant, often soaring above her orchestra mates, but never overwhelming them.In the rhythmic, Spanish-tinged second movement, Tsan found not only beauty but sheer fun, a hint of the Spanish love for dance that Lalo often brought to his music. The demands of the high-speed third movement, filled with intricate fingerings, didn't seem to intimidate her at all, and she used subtle rubato to emphasize her instrument's solo voice. It was passion and power and a lilting example of the romanticism of the late 19th century.

Press-Telegram, November 08

“Cellist Cécilia Tsan stepped (or rather, sat) in front of the orchestra for the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1, and what a fabulous player she is. Her tone is velvet, one of the prettiest sounds around, her dynamic range a mile wide and her technique is flawless. She and Diemecke collaborated on a masterful, memorable, seemingly effortless performance.”

Grunion Gazette

"The cellist in this case was Cecilia Tsan, the brilliant principal cellist for the Long Beach Symphony, making a too-infrequent appearance as soloist. From the beginning, her playing was filled with a relaxed energy, a sense of the richness and physical presence of Saint-Saens' elegant, soulful imagination. The profoundly moving quiet theme of the second movement was ethereal, delicate and breezelike, and in the finale, Tsan managed the bravura figures and fast bowing with relaxed ease.

Tsan's last solo with the orchestra was in 2002, when she was soloist in Diemecke's own "Camino y Vision." As in that performance, the easy mastery of her instrument, her infectious joy and the tangible support of her friends in the orchestra made this a performance to cherish. Friends in the audience were aplenty, too, to give Tsan a standing ovation that also included a lot of enthusiastic cheering, whistling and yelling."

John Farrell, Press-Telegram, February 2006

“Cécilia Tsan was featured at concert’s center in a commanding, full-throated performance of the Haydn (C Major) Concerto. In the breadth of her virtuosity and the charisma of her musical personality, Tsan made this work her own and delivered its many facets to her audience. This was a performance of high energy and deep feelings. Ohyama and his players supported the soloist wholeheartedly.”

Los Angeles Times

"Cécilia Tsan is an extremely talented young artist who has something special to say. Her education in France with one of the great cello teachers gives her different approach to her playing and a sense of style different from many of her colleagues. She brings to her work something not readily found in artists who have studied only in this country.

She would be a tremendous asset as she has so much to offer."

Yo-Yo Ma

"I believe Cécilia Tsan is an outstanding musical talent, one of the finest young cellists in Europe. I have attended her concerts and can vouch for the fact that she brings great sensitivity and superb virtuosity to everything she plays.

In the course of her career as a cello soloist, her extraordinary ability and musicianship will result in her becoming internationally famous.

I had the opportunity to play with many people throughout the world and Cécilia Tsan is one of the most talented cellists that I have ever encountered."

Jean-Pierre Rampal

"Cécilia Tsan is an unusual musician displaying great accuracy and feeling with her cello playing.  The speed with which she understood my "Suite for Cello and String Orchestra" was unusual in that she seems to have a profound understanding of what the music is about naturally.  What a joy it was to work with her!"

Clare Fischer, Composer and Pianist

"As the stars of Brahms Double Concerto, violonist Augustin Dumay and cellist Cécilia Tsan: a performance full of passion and generosity, total harmony in spite of different personalities. Dumay's violin sounds very pure with poetry and lyricism. Cécilia Tsan is perhaps more Brahmsian in the dark and tortured sense. But these conceptions complement one another: it is the alliance between intensity and purity."

Christian Goubault

"Cécilia Tsan, a young French woman of Chinese parentage, brought uncompromising musical character and a towering technique to Haydn's Second Cello Concerto (in D Major), highlighting both its climaxes and its inner workings. Carver and the (Los Angeles Mozart) Orchestra provided solid, attentive support."

Daniel Cariaga/ Los Angeles Times

"The performance of Kodaly Duo by Sheryl Staples, violin, and Cécilia Tsan, cello, was ferociously expressive but technically precise, with miracles of control by both musicians as well as seemingly unrestrained passion. I was struck especially by the fine singing high notes of the violin and the deep rhythmic growls of the cello."

The Independent

"Young Cécilia Tsan's cello always sings and a beautiful soul speaks with lyricism in the Dvorak Cello concerto. With a gorgeous voice, deep and melodious, the cello turns passionate then quiet, mysterious then luminous, the artist gives it all the fervor of her own musical soul with an amazing ease which makes you forget her virtuosity. It seems natural when it is simply prodigious."

Le Havre-Presse

"Cécilia Tsan: a young musician with an indisputable talent and a very strong personality. She belongs to this new generation of young artists who seem to have inherited all the gifts."

Le Quotidien de Paris

"Cécilia and I met seven years ago in Normandy, France, at a privately owned castle renowned for its classical music soirees. We performed there together on many occasions thereafter, and the overwhelming response to our collaborations led me to invite Ms. Tsan as a special guest performer in my concerts throughout France, including the Palais des Sports in Paris. She was the high point of the evenings, bringing style, grace, aesthetics, natural dignity, and cultural depth to the program with each appearance... She is an exceptional young talent of impeccable music integrity."

Joan Baez

"I have, for many years, followed, with great interest, the career of cellist Cécilia Tsan, a highly accomplished and talented artist, who would undoubtedly make a unique contribution to the musical and cultural society."

Irvine Arditti (Arditti String Quartet)

"Today Cécilia Tsan is one of the best French cellists of her generation. Her technical rigour, combined with a rare tone quality has brought to her an audience and a well-deserved recognition: you can discover them again in her new CD."

L'Evènement du Jeudi

"Janos Starker, Cécilia Tsan: he is one of the greatest cellists of all times, Hungarian living in the United States. She is a young cellist, with a deep sensitivity, Chinese living in France. They both perform this week: two generations of the cello but twice the same passion coming from the bottom of the heart."

Elle Magazine

"In the Lalo Cello Concerto, Cécilia Tsan, musician by love, great artist intensely living her interpretations, enchanted us once again with the fervor of her playing and the subtle colors of her precious instrument."


"For Cécilia Tsan, soloist of the Boccherini Concerto, it was a real comeback to her musical roots: it was in Rome, at the Accademia Santa Cecilia, that her parents were students, years ago. The most gifted and most sensitive cellist of her generation was named Cécilia for that reason. Her noble, generous and indescribable performance touched everybody in the audience. Her singing rose like a prayer to those who opened the doors of the music realm for her. The warm and luminous colors of her Guadagnini were in harmony with the Roman twilight."

L'Affiche (Rome)

"Cécilia Tsan, a cellist full of passion who offers its devouring fire with an infinite modesty."


"Fairies and saints leant over Cécilia's crib to give her the intelligence and secret of music. She worked hard to become what she is: an artist, master of her art, owning strong personality and temperament. Her Schumann Concerto reached the high spheres with tenderness and depth going directly to the bottom of our heart."


"Cellist Cécilia Tsan is an amazingly gifted musician with a gorgeous noble tone."

Le Figaro

"Among the highlights of this chamber music festival, I should mention the memorable performance of Schubert quintet (the Trout) which allowed us to discover a cellist with a great future, Cécilia Tsan, sharing her musicianship with pianist Alain Planès and violist Hatto Beyerle (co-founder of the Alban Berg String Quartet), among others."

Le Monde