Bonian, 28, is principal cellist of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, Germany. But as a young student, he travelled to Calgary from his home in China three times to participate in Music Bridge.
And this year marks the second time Bonian has returned as instructor to coach chamber and lead master classes for the next generation of classical musicians.
Question: How did being a Morningside Music Bridge student change your life?
Tian Bonian: I learned how people think and live in other countries, and I learned a lot of language here. A few years later I went to Germany to study in Europe, and I felt much more comfortable after coming to Music Bridge three times. It prepared me well.
Question: What is the best part about teaching young international music students?
Tian Bonian: Sometimes, they need help with technique for the right hand or the left hand. But I don’t have to teach a lot because they see each other play and they learn from each other. I know that from being here as a student before. When I’m teaching, I can learn a lot from the students, I can teach even better. The give-and-take is like ping-pong!
Question: Why is Morningside Music Bridge an important program?
Tian Bonian: It’s very important to invite students from the whole world, from different countries to come here and they can meet here like a big party. They learn so much.
Here’s what award-winning Winnipeg, Manitoba cellist David Liam, 14, has to say about learning from Tian Bonian:
“He’s alumni and he’s obviously learned so much in his career. We’re benefiting from all that he’s learned here and all that he’s learned after that, so it’s like we’re getting a bonus from all of his wisdom.”