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Sihao He. Photo by Daniel Delang

Sihao He to join Tianjin Julliard School and the Shanghai Quartet; Sydney Lee and Brannon Cho to join Robert McDuffie Center for Strings faculty

February 2024

by MM Staff


As famed alumnus and lead cello professor Sihao He joins the Tianjin Julliard School and its resident ensemble, the Shanghai Quartet, for the 2024-2025 season, two new professors will join distinguished artist and faculty member Hans Jorgen Jensen at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in the Mercer University Townsend School of Music in Macon, Georgia.

Galvin Cello Quartet founder Sydney Lee will begin teaching for the 2024-25 season. First Prize winner of the sixth International Paulo Cello Competition Brannon Cho will join Lee and Jensen in 2025-2026.

By welcoming new artists and supporting those who continue their careers across the globe, the McDuffie Center for Strings’ connective reach extends, forming bonds beyond borders. He, Lee, and Cho each studied under Jensen, who is also professor of cello at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a faculty member of the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto. Jensen noted, “I want to congratulate Sihao He on becoming the new cellist of the wonderful Shanghai Quartet and the new cello teacher at the Tianjin Juilliard School. I was very excited when I was invited back to the McDuffie Center for Strings in 2023 to teach together with Sihao He, and I am now equally excited to teach alongside Brannon Cho and Sydney Lee, both terrific cellists and wonderful teachers. I look forward to having many opportunities to keep working together with Sihao He in the future.”

“Teaching at the McDuffie Center for Strings, my alma mater, has been a profound honor,” He said. “As a young cellist, I chose the McDuffie Center, believing it would mark the beginning of my musical career. During my time there, I won the third Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Japan and continued to cultivate my musical journey, now culminating in a new position with the Shanghai Quartet and subsequent appointment at the Tianjin Juilliard School. Though I will no longer be there in person, the McDuffie Center will forever be regarded as family. I sincerely look forward to the future collaborations and achievements of McDuffie, Tianjin Juilliard, and the Shanghai Quartet, along with the next generation of young musicians at both institutions.”

McDuffie Center for Strings Director Amy Schwartz Moretti added, “The McDuffie Center is a unique environment for creativity and growth. The addition of Sydney and Brannon teaching alongside Hans Jensen continues our constant quest for top-quality music instruction and inspiration. How fortunate we are to have them join us, and how fortunate for Sihao, our wonderful alum, to be getting a dream job of his own! We see a future where he will be training the next generation of young people who will find their path to the McDuffie Center, just as he did.”

TOP Sihao He. Photo by Daniel Delang. ABOVE Cello Professor Hans Jørgen Jensen Photographed at Todd Rosenberg Photography in Chicago. © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2021