Artisans / Kansas City

Susie Yang

  • October 2016
Susie Yang
Susie Yang
Occupation: Cellist, The Kansas City Symphony

"I really feel that music is its own language." — Susie Yang, Cellist

When Susie Yang was 11 years old she performed as a cello soloist with the Chicago symphony. It was broadcasted on PBS. A camera crew came to her middle school to interview her. And even before that moment, Yang, who is now a cellist with the Kansas City Symphony, knew that she found her calling. “Classical music made me feel emotions that I think a lot of people can lose touch with: intense elation, sorrow, pain, anger, calm. It really is therapeutic,” Yang said. “In the same sense, I think the aspect of performing and reaching out to other people’s emotions, really intrigued me and made me want to do it for the rest of my life.”

Years later, Yang is happy to be doing what she’s doing in Kansas City. For one, she’ll tell you that inspiration is easy to find in her adopted home. Prior to moving to Kansas City, Yang did not have much experience playing other kinds of music, but has started playing in a local folk rock band, Barnaby Bright, who inspired her with their sound and songwriting skills. “The variety you can find here is inspiring in itself,” Yang said. “I have met many other musicians as well that push me to stretch the limits of what I can do with my instrument.”

At Yang’s level, that’s a good thing. Because her world is also competitive, and any extra edge is a welcomed advantage. In the Kansas City Symphony, more than 100 musicians can vie for a single spot. “You have to motivate yourself. It is easy to just sit down in front of the TV and watch Netflix and decide not to practice and perfect your craft,” she said. “It is another thing to spend the time in the practice room, creating and playing for hours.”

Susie Yang