top of page

Cello Chat with Host Dr. Benjamin Whitcomb and guest Bruce Uchimura

About the Episode 

This week is a flashback episode to when I chatted with Dr. Bruce   Uchimura, a professor of music at the Irving S. Gilmore School of Music   located at Western Michigan University. He specializes in teaching cello and   coaching chamber ensembles.

Meet the Guest

   Uchimura received the Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School of   Music where he studied cello with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins and   chamber music with Felix Galimir and the Juilliard String Quartet. He   received the Master of Music degree with an Artists Diploma in Cello from the   Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied cello with Alan Harris and   chamber music with Koichiro Harada and Bernhard Goldschmidt. He has also   studied at the Aspen Music Festival, the Meadowmount School of Music and the   Banff School of Fine Arts, and he has held an orchestral fellowship at the   Spoleto Festival.    As cellist of the celebrated Merling Trio for 30 years, Uchimura performed   in 44 states, Europe, and Canada to broad critical acclaim. The trio   performed 30-40 concerts yearly, hosted by presenters such as the Fairmont   Chamber Music Society, the Charleston Chamber Music Society, and the Duncan   Theater Café Classics Series. With the trio, Uchimura has recorded for the   Pamplin, Albany, MSR Classics, and Centaur labels. The Palm Beach Arts Paper   said, “He is an excellent cellist, with a large, powerful, beautiful singing   tone, and every phrase he played was shaped and molded for profile and   sensitivity.”    Uchimura has adjudicated major string competitions throughout the USA   including the Illinois Young Artist Competition, the American String Teachers   Association Solo Competition, the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition,   the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota String Competition, and the Fischoff   Chamber Music Competition. His recent   activities as a conductor include the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, the   Vermont All State Orchestra, the Illinois All State Orchestra, the Western   States Honors Orchestra Festival in Colorado, and the Elkhart Symphony. In   2018, he will conduct the Nevada All-State Orchestra in Las Vegas.    Uchimura’s leadership as a conductor garnered wide recognition for the   Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, which was named "Best   Classical University Symphony Orchestra" in DownBeat magazine's 2005   national student music awards competition. In 2003, the Kalamazoo Gazette's   classical music reviewer picked the orchestra's WMU centennial celebration   concert as the most memorable performance of the year. The orchestra   performed to much acclaim at the opening concert of the 2008 Michigan Music   Conference in Grand Rapids, and has performed on music series around the   state, such as the Community Arts Series in Hart, and the South Haven   Performance Series.    Current summer festival positions for Uchimura include Cello an American   Experience in Minnesota and Aria International Summer Academy in   Massachusetts. Overseas, he has given   master classes at the Conservatorio de Las Rosas in Mexico, and the China   Conservatory in Beijing. Highly esteemed as a teacher, Mr. Uchimura was named   2010 Educator of the Year by the Michigan String Teachers Association. He actively supports music education in the   state with numerous appearances as clinician and guest conductor, and serves   as faculty advisor to the WMU student chapter of the American String Teachers   Association, which was named “Best Student Chapter” in 2011. His cello and   conducting students hold positions as directors of and performers in   orchestras around the world, as well as in chamber ensembles such as the La   Catrina String Quartet and the Fry Street Quartet.

Bruce J. Uchimura is Professor of Music at Western Michigan   University where he teaches cello and coaches chamber ensembles. He joined   the faculty in the fall of 1987, having taught previously at the Augusta   College Center for Creative Arts, Michigan State University, and the   Preparatory and Adult Education department of the Cleveland Institute of   Music. He served as Principal Cellist of the Augusta (Georgia) Symphony and   was the first person ever to be named Associate Conductor of that ensemble. He served as head of chamber music and   member of the cello faculty at the legendary ENCORE School for Strings, under   the directorship of David Cerone, from 1985-2007.

bottom of page