Lost in History: The Rediscovery of Ma Sicong’s Cello Concerto in A Minor

Research paper

Ma Sicong’s Cello Concerto in A minor is the first known cello concerto written by a Chinese composer and holds significant musical purpose on the performance practice, compositional technique, and pedagogical development of the cello in China during the 20th century. Due to Chinas political unrest in the lead up to the revolution, the cello concerto was unknown for over 25 years, with no published editions or official recordings. The full score was first rediscovered in 1990s, however, is still unknown to cellists due to inaccessibility of a performance edition. The purpose of this study is to create a scholarly performance edition of Ma Sicongs Cello Concerto for cello and piano orchestra reduction. The original cello score and piano orchestra reduction exists in manuscript form but remains inaccessible to the wider public. The critical performance edition is created through thorough analysis and comparison with the full orchestral score. The piece is seldom known in the classical music world, and would be an integral addition to the literature of cello concertos from 20th Century Eastern Asian composers.

About the speaker

©Pia Johnson

Diana Wuli, Cello

Diana Wuli is an Australian cellist, educator, and entrepreneur. Her international career as a contemporary artist spans across the UK, USA, Asia, and New Zealand. A Melburnian at heart, Diana graduated with a double undergraduate degree in Music and Commerce from the University of Melbourne (AUS), Master of Music at the Royal Northern College of Music (UK), and then journeyed onto the USA to pursue her Performance Diploma and Doctor of Music from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She was awarded a full scholarship and Assistant Instructor position to pursue her Doctorate under the tutelage of acclaimed cellist and pedagogue Emilio Colón. She has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious prizes and awards, including the Donovan Johnson Travelling Scholarship (AUS), Thornton Foundation Award (UK), Eva Heinitz Cello Award (USA), and Janos Starker Scholar (USA). 

Diana is an active performer in solo, chamber, and orchestral performance. She has been an orchestral member with Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, New Zealand Opera and Ballet Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, and International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico. She has also performed solo and chamber music festivals throughout the Europe and USA, including Round Top Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Aldeburgh Music Festival, Fresno Cello Festival and many more. Her most recent collaboration with American String Duo, Duo Novae, was recorded and featured on ABC Classic FM. 

Diana is actively involved in supporting and raising the standards of music education. She has worked closely with Mimi Zweig and other renowned pedagogues to research and develop new and innovative cello teaching methodologies. Diana previously held the position of Professor for Applied Strings and String Ensemble Director at Vincennes University (USA); and guest lectured at Bucknell University (USA) and Miami University (USA). She is currently a Teaching Associate at Monash University, Vice-President of the Victorian Music Teachers Association, and Board Director of the Australian String Teachers’ Association. She is also the Founder and Director of the Melbourne String Academy, an organisation that focuses on bringing music and music education to underserved populations. In 2020, Melbourne String Academy was awarded grant funding from Creative Victoria and Monash City Council to bring virtual concerts into aged care homes throughout Victoria during the Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Diana currently plays on a rare Australian made cello by William Henry Dow.