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March 22, 2024

˿Ƶ expands cello department with faculty appointment of Detroit Symphony Orchestra principal Wei Yu


Wei Yu poses with his cello.

There’s only one rung left on the career ladder for ˿Ƶ cellist Wei Yu, and he is about to take it.  

On Monday, Executive Vice President & Provost Scott Harrison announced that next year, Yu will transition from visiting faculty to a full faculty appointment, teaching a select studio each year while continuing as principal cello of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  

He will begin accepting students in that capacity for enrollment in fall 2025. 

“In his short time at ˿Ƶ, Wei Yu has quickly become a treasure and one of the friendliest faces on campus,” Harrison said. “He is universally praised by students and his fellow faculty alike, and we are delighted to increase his role at ˿Ƶ as he helps us deepen our impact on the future of classical music.” 

Yu’s promotion at ˿Ƶ makes him the newest member of an already renowned cello department that includes, across its Conservatory, Young Artist Program, Academy, and Joint Music Program, Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal and department head Richard Weiss, Melissa Kraut, Sharon Robinson, Bryan Dumm, Si-Yan Darren Li, Ida Mercer, and Daniel Pereira, as well as Silk Road Ensemble cellist and alumnus Mike Block (BM ’04, Aaron), who leads the Global Music Experience. 

That Yu is worthy of advancement is beyond question. Since 2014, he has been principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he was appointed by former music director (and recent ˿Ƶ guest conductor) Leonard Slatkin. He made his solo debut with the group in 2015, performing the Dvořák Cello Concerto. 

Before Detroit, Yu was a member of the New York Philharmonic for seven seasons. As a member of that orchestra’s ensembles, he appeared regularly at Merkin Concert Hall and elsewhere. He remains an avid chamber musician, routinely collaborating with many of today’s leading artists and appearing at major festivals across the U.S. 

Yu holds degrees from North Park University and The Juilliard School. Outside ˿Ƶ, he has taught at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Interlochen Arts Camp, Meadowmount, and Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra.  

Save the date: Yu will be featured at ˿Ƶ on a special Insiders series recital featuring Tan Dun’s Cello Sonata with his wife, pianist Keun-A Lee, in fall 2024. 

“˿Ƶ is indeed lucky to welcome cellist Wei Yu to their prestigious faculty,” said Hans Jørgen Jensen, the world-renowned cello professor at the Bienen School and Yu’s former teacher. “He is a fantastic cellist and cello teacher. I have followed his amazing career for many years, and I congratulate ˿Ƶ on hiring Wei Yu.”