With the withdrawal of cellist Arlen Hlusko, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra has announced a substitute for its May 22 performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto.

Cellist Sihao He will replace Arlen Hlusko at the May 22 performance.

“It is highly disappointing that cellist Arlen Hlusko had to withdraw from our performances due to injury,” said Music Director Lawrence Eckerling. “This is an unfortunate part of the music business. While we are disappointed with the short-term bad news, we look forward to working with Arlen on another project in the future.

“Fortunately, we have another wonderful cellist replacing her, Sihao He.”

Sihao first came to prominence in 2008 at the age of 14 by taking first prize at the International Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Croatia, according to his website. Later that year he won the National Cello Competition in his native China. He is the Grand Prize winner of the prestigious third Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Japan and a laureate of the Queen Elizabeth International Cello Competition International and Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. In 2019, he won third prize in Munich’s ARD International Music Competition.  

Sihao has appeared in numerous concerts both as a soloist with leading orchestras and in recitals. After winning the Grand Prize at the Cassado Competition he performed a recital tour in Japan and China. Music Critic Masahiko Yu wrote, “… Sihao He is a big scaled splendid cellist who played a very technically demanding program like a magician.”

As a soloist, Sihao has performed with many leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Radio Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Münchener Kammer orchester, Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Orquestra the Sinfônica de Piracicaba in Brazil,and the Xiamen Philharmonic in China.

Born in Shanghai, Sihao holds a Bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he studied with Hans Jorgen Jensen and Julie Albers, and a Master’s Degree from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He is currently studying for his Doctor of Music Arts degree at Northwestern under Jensen’s tutelage.

The ESO concert is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 22 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Dr. on the Northwestern lakefront campus. Aside from the Dvorak Cello Concerto, the program includes Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture as well as Transcend, a 2019 piece by Zhou Tian that was recently profiled in the RoundTable.

More information on the ESO and the May 22 program is available here.

Les Jacobson

Les is a longtime Evanstonian and RoundTable writer and editor. He won a Chicago Newspaper Guild best feature story award in 1975 for a story on elderly suicide and most recently four consecutive Northern...

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