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B.A., Columbia University, John Jay National Scholar


M.M. (Master of Music), Manhattan School of Music & Stony Brook University


D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts), Stony Brook University, Ackerman Excellence in Music Prize

Cellist So Sugiyama has performed and taught extensively throughout the world for the past two decades. Recent engagements have included teaching and performance residencies at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark; the Manhattan School of Music; the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada; the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati; Avaloch Farm New Music Initiative; Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College; and the Utah Music Festival and School. 


A seasoned performer, Dr. So regularly shares the stage alongside artists such as Nancy Allen, Larry Dutton, Jennifer Frautschi, Tao Lin, Kurt Muroki, Phil Setzer, Rita Sloan, Arnaud Sussmann, Ian Swensen, Naoko Tanaka, Paul Watkins, Carol Wincenc, and Philip and David Ying. 


Over the years, Dr. So has been invited to attend many summer festivals as a fellowship recipient, including: the Banff Centre as a Finch Fellow; the Aspen Music Festival as an Orchestral Mentor Fellow and Principal Cellist of the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra; the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program in England; the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival as a Shouse Artist; and twice at the Bowdoin International Music Festival as a Kaplan Fellow and as a member of the fellowship quartet.


Recently, Dr. So completed his doctoral studies in cello performance at Stony Brook University as a full scholarship recipient under the guidance of Paul Watkins, cellist of the Emerson Quartet. During his time at Stony Brook, Dr. So served as the teaching assistant to: the Emerson Quartet, the Graduate Chamber Music Program, and David Finckel, Artist-in-Residence, cellist, and Co-Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. During his teaching tenure, Dr. So taught undergraduate chamber music and played a crucial role in the development of several graduate chamber music intensives/seminars, one of which included the newly formed Emerson String Quartet Institute, a highly selective two-year program devoted to exploring the vast string quartet repertoire and to learning the art of quartet playing. 


Dr. So began his musical studies at the age of three and enrolled at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, CA shortly thereafter. In 2012, he graduated from Columbia University as a John Jay National Scholar with a B.A. in philosophy, while concurrently studying cello with George Neikrug in Boston. Former teachers and mentors include: David Finckel, Richard Aaron, Brinton Smith, and James Kreger.


In the fall of 2019, Dr. So will serve as a teaching artist through the Rockefeller Institute of Government, where he will be teaching college students and grade-school children.

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