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Alexei Yupanqui Gonzales



Alexei Yupanqui Gonzales was appointed to the cello section of the New York Philharmonic in November 2012. He has served as the principal cellist of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Boston Lyric Opera. He has also been a member of the Boston Ballet Orchestra and has performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, Emmanuel Music under the late Craig Smith, and the Bach Ensemble with harpsichordist John Gibbons.

An avid chamber musician, Gonzales has performed in various concert venues including Jordan Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Seattle Town Hall, Currier Museum of Art, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He won first prize in the Coleman International Chamber Competition with the Azure Trio, and he was a recipient of the Borromeo String Quartet Artist Award. He has also taught chamber music at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.


Gonzales was a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow for three summers, where he received the Samuel Mayes Memorial Prize and participated in the Bach Institute Seminar. He has spent other summers at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Banff, the International Music Arts Institute, and the Killington Music Festival.


Gonzales studied with Laurence Lesser and Paul Katz at the New England Conservatory of Music. The son of Peruvian and German immigrants, Gonzales was raised in Andover, Massachusetts. Currently, he lives in Manhattan with his wife, Mie, an oboist. He is an avid Bayern Munich soccer fan.

"If I'm not practicing or studying music scores or listening to music, I'm usually reading about soccer and watching games."

Interview with Alexei Yupanqui Gonzales

THE FACTS: Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Bachelor of music, master of music, and graduate diploma from New England Conservatory. Prior to the Philharmonic: principal cello of Rhode Island Philharmonic and Boston Lyric Opera. At the Philharmonic: Joined November 2012.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Seeing Lorin Maazel conduct Mahler's Second Symphony in Munich when I was 12 or 13. I was blown away. It's now one of my favorite pieces.

HOW DID YOU BEGIN CELLO? When I was four I started Suzuki violin but it only lasted a week: I didn't connect with it, mainly because I had to stand. I switched to Suzuki cello because it was the only group with an opening. I loved it and I could sit.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? Benjamin Zander, who conducted the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at New England Conservatory's Preparatory School. He brought energy and passion and made it so fun. He helped us play beyond our potential. It made me want to be in an orchestra.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: I'm always listening to Bach. He influenced every composer who followed. And, as every cellist says, you're never finished working on the Cello Suites.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? My other passion is European football. I follow Bayern Munich. If I'm not practicing or studying music scores or listening to music, I'm usually reading about soccer and watching games. At New England Conservatory, a bunch of us students and Boston Symphony Orchestra players did pickup games every Saturday — rain, snow, sleet, ice, or mud.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY? Besides Bach, I listen to jazz now. I generally have a high adrenaline level, and jazz relaxes me. We played Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony in 2013; collaborating with Jazz at Lincoln Center's amazing musicians made me want to do more.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY: My father is from Peru and my mom is from Munich. It's a unique mix.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE NEW YORK CITY SPOT? I live right next to it: Fort Tryon Park. I exercise there a lot and love visiting The Cloisters. You're in the city but don't feel like it.

As of September 2014

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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