Letter from Professor Pae

Deborah Pae
Deborah Pae


Dear Cellist,

Every young artist, no matter how talented, needs skillful instruction and supportive mentorship to become a complete musician. The path to an enriching career in the arts is rarely a linear one, never the same experience from one person to the next, and a truly collective endeavor between a musician and their community, a fabric that becomes richer and more intricate over a lifetime.

Working with a mentor who recognizes your potential and encourages you to realize the qualities that you have yet to identify in yourself can be a transformative experience. Throughout my 25+ year career as a soloist, chamber musician, and arts advocate, I have had many important teachers who shared their expertise, provided invaluable systems of support, and helped me navigate the most pivotal moments of my artistic life. Next to traveling and performing for audiences around the world, I find no greater joy than mentoring the next generation of young artists.

Becoming a seasoned musician requires many skill sets:

  • a strong foundation in three essential areas—aural, technical, and artistic
  • thorough knowledge of the musical and historical literature
  • an unbridled curiosity, resourcefulness, and resilience
  • the ability to identify and work through challenges of all shapes and sizes
  • the ability to communicate effectively with your audience
  • the ability to communicate and work collaboratively with your peers
  • financial literacy and skills to manage creative projects
  • to think outside of the boundaries set forth by the industry and push them further
  • perhaps most importantly, to use music in impactful ways to enhance and reflect the communities around us

I am interested in the art of learning: learning how to learn, learning how to arrive at one’s own solutions and informed musical opinions, and using these tools to help pave an enriching life in the arts. If everyone is capable of learning, which I firmly believe to be true—and I mean everyone—then as an educator, I am committed to meeting you where you are and showing you how to develop your own process.

I invite you to join me at EMU CELLO at Eastern Michigan University or at any one of the festivals and institutions throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia where I serve on faculty, present master classes, and lead chamber music residencies. Come visit us, meet your future peers, and become part of this wonderful musical family!

—Prof. Deborah Pae


Deborah Pae
Deborah Pae



Praised by critics for her “extraordinary musicianship" (San Diego Union Tribune), “superb tone,” and “high level of interpretative intelligence” (Transcentury), Korean-American cellist DEBORAH PAE has received international acclaim for her powerful performances, uncompromising curiosity for expression, and devotion to the arts. Pae has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe, and Asia at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

Pae is the cellist of two award-winning ensembles: the Formosa Quartet, recipients of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 2006 International London Quartet Competition, and the Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio, winners of the 2020 German Record Critics Award/Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik in the category of chamber music, one of Europe’s most coveted honors, and Fono Forum’s 5 Best Albums of 2020 for their debut album Masterpieces Among Peers: Trios by Frank Bridge and Johannes Brahms. Within her wide-ranging repertoire, she is passionate about lifting up the works of living composers, specifically those from underrepresented groups and highlighting the musical traditions of indigenous nations in Taiwan, and introducing valuable yet lesser-known musical compositions to worldwide audiences. Over the span of 25 years, Pae’s performances have been augmented by numerous radio and television broadcasts and recordings for ECM, New World, TYXarts, Bridge, Fuga Libera, and Outhere Records. 

A graduate of the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and an Associate Artist at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, Ms. Pae is committed to mentoring the next generation of young artists. She is Associate Professor of Cello at Eastern Michigan University where she is a recipient of the 2021 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award in Creative Activity, the highest honor Eastern Michigan University presents to an individual faculty member; cello and chamber music faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Formosa Chamber Music Festival, and Taipei Music Academy & Festival, and Faculty Emeritus at the Perlman Music Program. An advocate for equity in the arts, Pae serves as Governor on the board of The Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter. Her mentors have included cellists Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, Joel Krosnick, André Emelianoff, and Nellis Delay; violist Kim Kashkashian, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Ms. Pae travels and performs with her trusty companion, a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) from Naples, Italy.

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