This is the story of two siblings who began their stories in the same place, and followed their separate paths, only for their paths to bring them together. Now, the pair have taken all that they’ve learned in their time apart and fused it together in a beautiful collaboration at the University of Calgary (U of C) Rosza Centre Friday night.

While Estelle and Arnold Choi are masters of the cello who were raised here in Calgary, Estelle has been living in New York for the past several years, making her most recent performance  all the more memorable.

Having only performed alongside another once before in Okanagan last March, Estelle performed alongside her brother for the second time as a fellow ambassador for Calgary’s classical music scene on Jan. 12.

Estelle and Arnold Choi are masters of the cello who were raised here in Calgary. However, the siblings followed different paths, only sharing the stage once before until they performed together at the University of Calgary Rosza Centre Jan. 12, 2018 as part of the Canimex Canadian Music Competition. Produced by Omar Subhi Omar

Their early lives were filled with music, surrounded by family that mostly played one instrument or another, be it the piano or the violin. The siblings were immersed into the cello and rose as considerable talents, winning competitions and accolades both provincially, locally and internationally on their individual paths to mastery.

While the siblings were both trained at a young age by the same teacher, their paths diverged despite them pursuing mastery of the same instrument, and rarely would they be seen on the same stage at the same time. As part of the Canimex Canadian Music Competition (CMC), the siblings performed side-by-side as ambassadors for Calgary, which is hosting this year’s competition.

“The CMC is something that we grew up doing, it was a great way to meet new people,” said Estelle. “Every year, the city changes, and that’s taken us across the country.”

With Estelle’s accomplishments with the renowned Calidore Quartet and Arnold’s position as principal cellist of the Calgary Philharmonic, the siblings, who have been mainstays in  the classical music limelight, have a few pieces of advice  for those seeking instrumental mastery.

“Don’t wait to be a professional. The sooner you take your work seriously, the sooner you’ll become the professional you want to be,” said Estelle.

“Do your best to leave your ego at the door, and absorb as much as you can from every influence: your teacher, colleagues, peers,” adds Arnold.

Editor: Paul McAleer

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