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It's all harmony for Ni Hai-ye

By Raymond Zhou  (China Daily)

09:06, August 28, 2012

(Photo from China Daily)

Ni Hai-ye has a "Tiger Mom", who forced her to learn the violin at the tender age of 4, and then the cello at 7. "It was a smaller cello, the kind for kids, though," she explains.

But the principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra is not complaining.

"My mom was not too terrible. She would let me play with other kids. So it was not playing cello all day," she says.

Around the age of 16 or 18, Ni grew to like music making. She appreciates the sacrifices her parents had made for her. She was attending the elementary school attached to the Shanghai Music Conservatory when she emigrated to San Francisco with her parents. Later, her parents wanted to pursue their careers back in China, but for the sake of their daughter's music training, they decided to stay on in the US.

Fortunately, Ni was such a top student in every school she attended that there was never any doubt she would make it in the competitive world of classical music. At 19, she won first prize for the Naumburg Competition, an event held once every four years. In 1999, she auditioned for the New York Philharmonic and was hired by maestro Kurt Masur as an associate principal cellist.

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