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Zlatomir Fung

Cello Conversations

As a musician, and as an artist, it is the lives that I grace and the transcendence I embody that give my craft its supreme relevance. ”

Zlatomir Fung, cellist; Strings Magazine

For Zlatomir Fung, an award-winning cellist, each note within a piece of music is embraced with purpose and forges a connection between the musician and his audience–ultimately creating an experience filled with a mosaic of sound, color, and textures. 

A cello player since age three, today at 22, Fung studies with Richard Aaron and Timothy Eddy at the Juilliard School; and is recognized as the first and youngest American in four decades to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition Cello Division in 2019. 

Praised for his virtuosity, Fung’s list of accolades, include but are not limited to: winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions; 2016 George Enescu International Cello Competition; a 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient; and 2022 recipient of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. 

As part of the DSO’s William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series, Fung will make his Detroit Symphony Orchestra debut with Luigi Boccherini’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra  No. 9 in B-flat major, G.482, on March 24. The DSO premiered the piece in 1926, conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch and most recently in December 1990, conducted by now-retired DSO violinist Joseph Striplin. Fung’s rendition will be conducted by Ari Pelto. 


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Recognized as one of Boccherini’s best known works, the Grützmacher arrangement of the concerto was composed to fit the musical stylings of the romantic era: chromatic harmonies, lyrical appeal, sentimental. The first movement woos the listener with a bright and moderate tempo that settles into the calming and grace of the second. In the final movement, a joyful cadence returns at a vivacious rate with moments of softness.

What can be anticipated in the upcoming Neighborhood concert, is what Fung will bring to Boccherini’s expressive composition. The versatility and emoting ability the cello adds to a piece was an attraction point for Fung early on. In a conversation with Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, he named Rostropovich as a top cello influence. Particularly, it was Rostropovich’s  recording of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 that further solidified Fung’s fascination with the instrument: “I was blown away that it was possible for the cello to express so much and for the sound to have this quality where it was speaking to you.”  

Merging his rich musicality and energetic performance style with the spirited stylings and range that emerges from Boccherini’s works, is a recipe for a delightful experience. 

Fung’s four-day appearance with the DSO also includes Pelto conducting Prokofiev's "Classical" symphony, Ravel's Baroque-inspired suite, Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Four Novelletton, Op. 52.  

See Zlatomir Fung Live, March 24-27