MacLachlan / Ridge Emerging Artist Program


Bringing Emerging Canadian Talent to the Calgary Phil

Founded by Letha MacLachlan, KC and John Ridge, the MacLachlan/Ridge Emerging Artist program provides a bridge between academic excellence and professional careers in the highly competitive arena of world-class performance. The Calgary Phil is committed to developing the next generation of artists by presenting emerging Canadian musicians in Calgary, supported through the MacLachlan/Ridge Emerging Artist program.

“We want to ensure that young artists get into the mainstream to advance their careers and to sustain and enrich classical music. We invite you to help us support emerging artists through this program by making a donation.”

– Letha MacLachlan, KC and John Ridge

Bryan Cheng

2023/2024 Season MacLachlan/Ridge Emerging Artist

Following recent prize-winning successes at some of the world’s most prestigious international competitions, including Queen Elisabeth, Concours de Genève, and Paulo, Canadian-born, Berlin-based cellist Bryan Cheng has established himself as one of the most compelling emerging artists on the classical music scene. He made his sold-out Carnegie Hall recital debut at age 14, his Elbphilharmonie debut at age 20 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Joshua Weilerstein), and in 2022, was the first cellist to be awarded the coveted Prix Yves Paternot in recognition of the Verbier Festival Academy’s most promising and accomplished musician.

Previous solo highlights include appearances with the Brussels Philharmonic at BOZAR, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande at Victoria Hall, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lahti, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Missouri), Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, and Schleswig-Holsteinisches Sinfonieorchester, as well as a coast-to-coast Canadian tour with the National Youth Orchestra as winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Michael Measures Prize. Bryan has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as Giordano Bellincampi, Jonathan Darlington, Stéphane Denève, Jacques Lacombe, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Oundjian, Matthias Pintscher, and Dalia Stasevska.

As a member of the Cheng² Duo, CelloFellos, and as a chamber musician, Bryan performs extensively globally. He has worked with partners such as Angela Hewitt, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, and Antje Weithaas. Over the years, Bryan has accumulated a concert repertoire spanning five centuries, and is equally committed to both traditional classics and the music of his time. He has commissioned and given eleven world premieres, including two pieces by Canadian composer Alexina Louie at his second Carnegie Hall recital, the North American premiere of a cello concerto by British-Russian composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei) at Koerner Hall with the Esprit Orchestra, and a multimedia project featuring five new Canadian works by composers from all regions of the country at the National Gallery of Canada.

Bryan has released a trilogy of critically-acclaimed albums on the German classical label auditeRussian Legends (2019, selected by BBC Radio Scotland as Album of the Week), Violonchelo del Fuego (2018), and Violoncelle français (2016, chosen as one of Boston’s CRB Classical Top 8 CDs of 2017). His recordings have been lauded by The Times (United Kingdom), Süddeutsche ZeitungORF Radio (Austria), pizzicato magazine (Luxembourg), and The WholeNote magazine (Canada) for their “musical sensitivity,” “maturity and perfection,” “extremely imaginative and personal interpretation,” “taste, sure flair for phrasing, and beauty of sound.”

Formerly studying with the late cellist and conductor Yuli Turovsky and Hans Jørgen Jensen of Northwestern University, Bryan is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the Universität der Künste Berlin in the studio of Jens Peter Maintz. Over the years, he has also been mentored by David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Menahem Pressler, Laurence Lesser, Richard Aaron, David Finckel, and Jian Wang. 

Bryan plays the “Dubois” Antonio Stradivarius cello (Cremona, 1699), graciously provided by Canimex Inc from Drummondville, Québec. He is a recipient of the Deutschlandstipendium and has been supported by the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation with generous multi-year scholarships.

The MacLachlan/Ridge Emerging Artist program has presented the following emerging Canadian artists to perform with the Calgary Philharmonic:

  • 2023/2024 Season — Bryan Cheng
  • 2022/2023 Season — Ryan Zhu
  • 2020/2021 Season — Kevin Chen
  • 2018/2019 Season — Jaeden Izik-Dzurko
  • 2017/2018 Season — Isabella Perron
  • 2016/2017 Season — Charles Richard-Hamelin
  • 2015/2016 Season – Sheng Cai
  • 2014/2015 Season – Blake Pouliot
  • 2013/2014 Season – Pavel Kolesnikov
  • 2012/2013 Season – Andrea Tyniec

Upcoming MacLachlan/Ridge Emerging Artist Concerts


Barbara Soles
Senior Development Officer