Faculty and Staff
Dr. Ka-Wai Yu
Ka-Wai Yu is the Instructor of Cello at Eastern Illinois University. Originally from Hong Kong, Dr. Yu is active as a recitalist, chamber musician, and music educator. In great demand as a clinician, Yu has given master classes at numerous universities and institutions in North America and Asia. He has taught in music camps and workshops in Illinois, Michigan, and Georgia, among them the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He has given multiple lecture performances at the Music Teacher National Association Music Club in Urbana, Illinois, has judged the Illinois High School Association Music Contest, and has coached string sectionals regularly at various high school and youth orchestras in the Midwest.
Yu has given solo and chamber performances at major concert halls in Canada, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. He is the cellist of the Ensemble Finesse with clarinetist Darren Ho and pianist Mischa Ngan. He also plays baroque cello and viola da gamba in the period-instrument ensemble La Réunion Musicale, and has played in Concerto Urbano and the Viol Consort of Champaign-Urbana. Yu received the Asian Cultural Council Scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival. He has also participated in the American Bach Soloists Academy, Boston Early Music Festival, Orford Arts Center, Toronto Summer Music Academy, and Vancouver Early Music Festival. Yu has been the Principal Cellist of Eastern Symphony Orchestra since 2009, and has played in numerous orchestras in the Midwest including the chamber orchestra Sinfonia da Camera. Yu's recent solo performances include a concerto appearance with Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and performances at Doudna Fine Arts Center, Seoul Anglican Cathedral, and Hong Kong City Hall. His performances have been broadcast on WILL-FM and Radio Television Hong Kong. His playing can also be heard in CD recordings of ensembles Sinfonia da Camera and La Réunion Musicale, as well as in a song album of singer/songwriter Pamela Machala.
Yu has a strong interest in scholarly research. His doctoral thesis is entitled "When Concerto Meets Song Cycle: A Study of Vocal Influences in Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129, with Reference to his Dichterliebe, Op. 48." His transcription of Schumann’s Cello Concerto for cello and string quartet, a version that was originally proposed by Schumann but was rejected by the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel in 1853, has been published by A-R Editions, Inc. Yu was a recipient of scholarships sponsored by Early Music America and the Viola da Gamba Society of America. He has written research papers on music by François Couperin, Marin Marais, J. S. Bach, and Beethoven. He has lectured at University of Illinois on J. S. Bach’s Cello Suites.
Yu obtained his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with cellist Brandon Vamos of the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet. He also holds a Master of Music in Cello Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His other mentors have included cellists Helga Winold, Csaba Onczay, David Starkweather, Anthony Elliott, and Ming-Yuen Cheung, as well as viola da gambist Wendy Gillespie. Yu has also studied with members of the Tokyo, American, Pacifica, and Parker Quartets.
Dr. Yu’s string teaching focuses on the simultaneous development of a student’s technical fluency and musical maturity. He is dedicated to help students become good musicians, as well as good instrumentalists.
Frequently Taught CoursesApplied Cello
Aural Training in Music I & II
Interacting with Music
EducationD.M.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
M.M., Indiana University, Bloomington
B.A. (First Hons.), The Chinese University of Hong Kong