April Artist of the Month: Brandon Shin

Brandon Shin will attend the University of Michigan in the fall to pursue a music degree (Brandon Shin).


Staff Writer

Senior and principal cellist of UHS Symphony Orchestra Brandon Shin was nominated by orchestra director Ms. Grace Lee for April’s Artist of the Month.

Shin’s introduction to music performance started at the age of five years old when he learned how to play piano, and he later picked up the cello at seven years old. Shin didn’t expect to start learning the cello at such a young age, but after hearing the sound of a cello being played, he knew it was the instrument for him.

“After listening to Yo-Yo Ma perform the famed cello suites by J.S. Bach, I fell in love with the cello,” Shin said.

After Shin’s discovery from listening to professional cellists, Shin continued playing cello and found great comfort in its rich tone that gives it a warm but powerful sound.

“Over the years, [playing cello] has become like a second part of me,” Shin said.

As a member of the UHS Symphony Orchestra during his four years at UHS, Shin has become an important role model within the orchestra department.

“My fondest memory of Brandon is when I went to Rancho for an orchestra recruitment talk, and he couldn’t stop asking questions about the orchestra program, even though he was a 7th grader and had another year to complete at Rancho,” Lee said.

Lee commented that when the rest of the class’s minds are somewhere else, Shin’s energy is contagious, and he is able to inspire his classmates.

“Sitting near Brandon in orchestra is really motivational in a way,” senior Terry Hsu said. “He’s so good at cello that it pushes others to work harder so we’re not the anchor.”

Shin has also taken his passion for cello outside of UHS. He is the principal cellist of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, an extremely prestigious honor that very few students get to experience, and is a member of a chamber group. One of Shin’s most unforgettable memories outside of UHS has been his experience at a summer camp he attended in 2019. Shin was selected for the Center Stage Strings Institute, a summer camp held annually at the University of Michigan led by world-renowned performance musicians.

“I was not only able to hone my skills by working with distinguished faculty and guest artists, but I also had the opportunity to engage with fellow peers and colleagues of very high caliber and work with them daily on chamber music repertoire,” Shin said.

Shin also added that camp was especially enriching because every concert was inspiring and he had the opportunity to support his friends.

However, Shin’s passion for music has not been limited to the cello: he also took on the challenge of learning a second, completely different instrument, the clarinet. In eighth grade, Shin was given the option to take two music classes at school, and he opted to be part of the band and orchestra.

“I chose the clarinet because it contrasts the cello’s role in an orchestra,” Shin said. “I have also been very fortunate to be able to play in [UHS] marching band for two years, and that experience has been like no other.”

After graduating from UHS, Shin plans to continue his interest in music by pursuing a major in musical arts as a cellist as well as a second major at the University of Michigan. Following his 2019 summer camp experience, Shin hopes to continue making memorable experiences at the University of Michigan in the future.

In addition to Shin’s hopes for the future, many in the UHS orchestra department applaud Shin’s goals. Lee commended Shin on his past accomplishments with cello and is hopeful for his future endeavors as a musician.

“Brandon has known from an early age that he wants to be a concert cellist,” Lee said. “He has the right attitude where I know he is going to make it really far in the music performance world and not crack under pressure.”