Cellist Ben Hong joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1993 at age 24 as a section player and six months later, he won the assistant principal cello position. He currently serves as associate principal cello, appointed by LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel in 2015. Hong also performs frequently as a soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles. He has collaborated with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Janine Jansen, Lang Lang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sir Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Concerto appearances with the LA Phil have included the U.S. premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s cello concerto Kai, with Rattle conducting at the Ojai Music Festival; the LA Phil premiere of Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto, conducted by Long Yu at the Hollywood Bowl; and the U.S premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s concerto for cello and orchestra, en forme de pas de trois, conducted by Susanna Mälkki.
DreamWorks Pictures hired Hong to train Jamie Foxx and several other cast members of the 2009 film The Soloist. In addition, he was the featured soloist on the soundtrack, which was released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. In 2020, Hong was asked by the Los Angeles Lakers to perform a rendition of “Hallelujah” at the Staples Center as part of a pre-game tribute in memory of Kobe Bryant.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong won his native country’s national cello competition three years in a row before leaving home at age 13 for the Juilliard School. Later, he studied with Lynn Harrell at the USC School of Music before joining the LA Phil. Hong currently serves on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music and the Colburn School. Additionally, he frequently performs and teaches at music festivals throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe.