"Uncompromising musical character and a towering technique… In the breadth of her virtuosity and the charisma of her musical personality, Tsan made this work her own.” (Daniel Cariaga/Los Angeles Times, about her performance of the Haydn D Major Concerto).
Born in France, Cécilia Tsan began playing the cello with the same teacher as her childhood friend Yo-Yo Ma. After majoring in Philosophy and Chinese, she was accepted at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris under André Navarra, and was awarded the 1st Prize for Cello summa cum laude and the 1st Prize for Chamber Music. She is a prizewinner at the Barcelona International Competition, the Florence International Competition and the winner of the Debussy Prize at the Paris International Competition.
Ms Tsan toured throughout the world not only as a soloist, but also as a chamber musician with Rudolf Firkusny, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Michel Dalberto, Jean Hubeau, Bruno Rigutto, Pascal Rogé, Pierre Amoyal, Augustin Dumay, Martin Chalifour, Hatto Beyerle, Gérard Caussé, Bruno Pasquier, Paul Neubauer, Heiichiro Ohyama. She regularly performs on the radio and for television and films. Since she moved to Los Angeles, she has been recording hundreds of movie soundtracks with many composers such as John Williams, James Newton-Howard, James Horner, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, David Newman, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Alexandre Desplats, John Debney to name a few. She recorded a CD (Eleven pieces for Cello and Piano) under the Cybelia label and two CDs of chamber music by Weber and Ropartz, under the Timpani label, both with pianist Jean-Louis Haguenauer.
She currently serves as Principal Cellist with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and occasionally the Pasadena Symphony, a position she previously held with New West Symphony. Recent performances include the Tchaikovsky Roccoco Variations, the Elgar, Lalo and Saint-Saëns Cello Concertos, as well as various chamber music concerts. Several composers, including jazz-pianist Clare Fischer (Suite for Cello and String Orchestra) and Music Director Enrique Diemecke have written solo pieces for her. As a founding member of the Pantoum Trio, she also recorded "Jazz and Cocktails", a piano trio written by Gernot Wolfgang. The CD was released in July 2006, to critical acclaim.
Her recent performances include the Suite from Memoirs of a Geisha by John Williams, Dvorak Cello Concerto as well as Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Tereza Stanislav. At one of her many chamber music appearances, she performed the world premiere Eric Tanguy’s piano trio, specially written for her and published by Salabert: the world premiere was recorded and broadcast by Radio-France in Paris.
In November 2014, she will give the West Coast Premiere of Eric Tanguy’s 2nd Cello Concerto premiered by Mstislav Rostropovitch and Seiji Ozawa. Cécilia has also served as Principal Cello for the Academy Awards, the Emmys, American Idols, Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent