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Friday, November 3, 2023 (Ann Arbor, MI) — Already a highly accomplished cellist by his teens, Vincent Garcia Hettinger was the winner of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition in 2020, but the pandemic forced the rescheduling of his concert performance with the orchestra (read more here). On Thursday, November 9, we’re excited to finally welcome Vincent to the stage as soloist at our 2023 Middle School Youth Concert, where he’ll perform the finale of Schumann’s Cello Concerto with Music Director Earl Lee and the A2SO.

We sat down with Vincent earlier to catch up and hear what most excites him in the future!

What first drew you to the cello, and how has your relationship with the instrument evolved over time?

I was drawn to cello from a young age because my parents were both musicians, so when I was growing up I would constantly be surrounded by music. The resonance and depth of the cello really intrigued me, and from the moment I heard the cello I always really wanted to play it.

You’ll be performing the finale from Schumann’s Cello Concerto at the concert. What are your favorite parts of this work, and what makes it challenging, yet rewarding?

The Schumann concerto is my favorite work ever written for the cello, and it’s the type of piece that you can really get something new out of every time you listen to it. The constantly changing character, the beautiful melodic line, and the orchestras interjections make it one of the best listening experiences in all of classical music. The second movement would be my favorite movement.

How did college auditions go, and where are you currently studying?

College auditions went great! Last year I applied to 6 schools: the Curtis Institute of Music, Colburn School, The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, Rice University, and Eastman School of Music, and I was accepted into every school with a full scholarship! I am currently attending Curtis.

What’s your objective as a performer — how do you want the audience to feel when you take the stage?

My goal as a performer is always to give the audience something new and unique, and always be genuine with my musical intentions.


Vincent Garcia-Hettinger is currently a student at the Curtis Institute of Music where he studies with Peter Wiley and Gary Hoffman. Most recently he was a prize winner in the International Klein competition and the Junior Division of the Sphinx Competition. Previously he studied with Ken Freudigman for seven years, and also under pedagogues Steve Doane and Johannes Moser.

Vincent began his cello studies at the age of five, and he made his solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony in May 2019. Since then he has performed as a soloist with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Sinfonietta, the South Texas Symphony Orchestra, and will make his solo debut with the Lubbock Ballet in April. He is also a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Award, as well as the Texas Young Masters Scholarship.