Cellist Yuri Hooker (CBC)
Yuri Hooker is the Principal cellist with both the Winnipeg Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestras. Since his arrival in Winnipeg in 1999, his frequent concerto appearances with the WSO and the MCO have met with critical and audience acclaim. He appears regularly with the Winnipeg Chamber Music Society and Groundswell.
Yuri will be one of 24 cellists who will take the stage during Canada's first international cello festival. He took the time out of his busy rehearsal schedule to talk about his relationship with the cello.
Did you choose the cello or did it choose you?You spend a lot of time with your cello. How would you describe your relationship with it?
A bit of both, I guess. The first time I heard a cello concert (when I was 5) I became obsessed. My parents didn't let me start until I was 7, but since then I haven't been able to imagine life without it.
My wife Michelle calls it "The Mistress". At times it's an infatuation and it's all I can think about, sometimes it's a guilty pleasure, other times it is like a vehicle for prayer, sometimes I wish I never touched it in the first place.Can you describe what it feels like for you to play the cello?
I try to while I'm teaching...but it's hard to sum up in a short space. Ideally, it feels like gliding--easy resonances drawn from the depths of the earth--simplicity. What do you think the cello can say, that no other instrument can?
"Woe is me." That's not all it can say, but it says it better than any other instrument What's the longest you've ever gone without playing your instrument?
I stopped playing for about 8 months after my Bachelor's degree, while I was working at a CD store, and figuring out what to do with my life.If you didn't play the cello what would you do?
If I hadn't become a cellist, I'd probably have become a monk or hermit or some such. If I lost the use of my arms now, I'd teach more and write (or I suppose, dictate...) as much as possible. What's a day in your life like?
Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals, cramming notes, more rehearsals, spend as much time with the kids as possible. What are you most looking forward to at the festival?
I can't wait for the Britten concert. I love these pieces! They are right up there with the Bach Suites in my estimation.