Cellist Sam Ou came to the United States from Taiwan at age 4, and began his cello studies at age 9. He has been a pupil of several renowned cello teachers, including Gretchen Geber, Eleanore Schoenfeld, and Aldo Parisot. After completing his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees in New York from Columbia University and The Juilliard School in their double degree program, Mr. Ou moved to Boston to study with Laurence Lesser at New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), where he graduated with a Doctorate of Musical Arts. His dissertation was entitled "In Felix's Footsteps: An Examination of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel's Approach to Her Chamber Music."
While a student at NEC, Mr. Ou founded the NEC String Trio, which won the NEC Honors Ensemble Competition, was featured on Boston’s WGBH radio station, and was the resident chamber ensemble at the Musicorda Music Festival. As a former member of the Huntington Piano Trio, he performed extensively throughout New England and traveled to Poland, giving concerts in Poznan and Zakopane. He has studied with several inspiring chamber music coaches including Toby Appel, Emanuel Ax, Neil Black, James Buswell, Earl Carlyss, Lucy Chapman, Norman Fischer, Felix Galimir, Christoph Henkel, Lewis Kaplan, and Emma Tahmisian.
Mr. Ou has collaborated and performed with the Borromeo String Quartet, James Buswell, Hung-Kuan Chen, Pi-Hsien Chen, James Dunham, Thomas Hill, Patricia McCarty, Paul Neubauer, Heiichiro Ohyama, Lois Shapiro, and Marcus Thompson. He performed Yehudi Wyner's Tanz and Maissele with violinist Lucy Chapman, clarinetist Bruce Creditor, and the Pulitzer prize-winning composer at the piano at The Center for Jewish History in New York.
Mr. Ou has performed in several music festivals, including Tanglewood, Sarasota, Musicorda, Santa Fe, and La Jolla. He has been a visiting lecturer, performer, and cello teacher at Fu-Jen University in Taiwan, where he conducted solo and chamber music masterclasses and performed with Fu-Jen faculty musicians. As a participant of Fu-Jen’s 18th Century Piano Literature Symposium and the International Strings Literature Symposium, he presented papers on the chamber music of Beethoven and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Mr. Ou has also coached undergraduate chamber ensembles and orchestral cello sectionals at Tufts University.
Awards and scholarships Mr. Ou has received include the Rome Festival Concerto Soloist Award, the Rosemary Scales Prize for best cello concerto performance at the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition, the Chi-Mei Music Scholarship from Taiwan, the ARTS Level II Award from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, and the Joseph Schuster Memorial Cello Scholarship from the Young Musicians' Foundation.
A faculty member and assistant string chairperson at NEC’s Preparatory School, Mr. Ou also maintains a private teaching studio, and in the summer, he teaches in Belmont, MA at Music on the Hill, a chamber music program for young musicians. During this past summer, he additionally taught at the Walnut Hill Music Festival in Natick, MA, Youth & Muse Music Festival at the Boston Conservatory, and Point CounterPoint in Leicester, VT. In 2012, Mr. Ou released his first CD, With String & Pipe, in which he collaborated with organist Harry Lyn Huff. He was also featured in Larry Bell’s CDs entitled In a Garden of Dreamers, where he collaborated with recorder player Aldo Abreu and harpsichordist Paul Cienniwa.
B.A. (Columbia University), M.M. (Juilliard), D.M.A. (NEC); cello studies with Laurence Lesser, Aldo Parisot, Eleanore Schoenfeld, and Gretchen Geber; chamber music with Emanuel Ax, James Buswell, Earl Carlyss, Norman Fischer, Felix Galimir, Heiichiro Ohyama, and Lucy Chapman; master classes with Bernard Greenhouse, Lynn Harrell, Christoph Henkel, and Ronald Leonard; recipient of Rome Festival Concerto Soloist Award, Rosemary Scales Prize for best cello concerto performance at the Kingsville International Young Performers Competition, Chi-Mei Music Scholarship from Taiwan, Joseph Schuster Memorial Cello Scholarship from Young Musicians’ Foundation; performed at Tanglewood, Sarasota, Musicorda, Santa Fe, and La Jolla Music Festivals; visiting lecturer and cello teacher at Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan; faculty, New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Music on the Hill in Belmont, MA, Walnut Hill Music Festival in Natick, MA, Youth & Muse Music Festival in Boston, and Point CounterPoint in Leicester, VT.
“Cellist Sam Ou highlighted the score’s lyricism through his expressive playing, and anchored the incisive string textures in von Flotow’s recitatives.”
“In Franz Liszt’s ‘Romance oubliée’ (Forgotten Song), an instrumental reworking of a song from 36 years earlier, cellist Sam Ou and Dudochkin played with expressivity and passion; the cello and the piano smoothly exchanged the solo and accompanimental roles several times. The work ended tenderly, high up in the range of both instruments.”
“Cellist Sam Ou was also featured prominently throughout the piece and received special recognition during the bows for good reason: Ou’s take on Rutter’s score imbued the work with an uncanny sense of gravitas, particularly in second movement, which opens with a particularly demanding cello solo. Ou negotiated that passage and others punctuated throughout the work with remarkable ease and clarity, while maintaining a graceful—if vociferous—line that fit well into the narrative.”
“Camille Saint-Saëns’ (1835-1921) “Domine adjutor meus” (O Lord, my strength) featured mezzo-soprano, cello, and organ in a delicious song. Emily Marvosh’s vocal vibrato was measured, rich, and varied for color and dramatic effect; cellist Sam Ou matched hers in color while finding his own shadings in more soloistic passages, supported by Barbara Bruns on the organ. The three worked together with the elegant balance of a lustrous trio sonata.”
“…the ‘Première Élégie,’’ for the sensuous combination of cello (Sam Ou), harp (Rebecca Bogers), piano (Dudochkin), and organ (Constantine Finehouse), sounded like the missing link between Wagner’s ‘Tristan’ and Fauré’s ‘Requiem’; the ‘Romance Oubliée,’ with Ou and Dudochkin in another impassioned performance, similarly triangulated between, say, Chopin and Puccini.”