Research & Publication

Doctoral Thesis

Dr. Ka-Wai Yu’s Doctoral thesis is entitled “When Concerto Meets Song Cycle: A Study of Vocal Influences in Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129, with Reference to his Dichterliebe, Op. 48.” The thesis addresses the long-existing doubts, prejudices and mixed critical views about the value of Schumann’s Cello Concerto and his late music.  It sheds new light by looking closely at the unique musical structure, poetic harmonic language, rhetorical characteristics and song-like orchestration found in the concerto.

Click here for a PDF copy of the thesis, © Copyright by Ka-Wai Yu, 2011


Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129, arranged  for cello and string quartet by Ka-Wai Yu, A-R Editions, Inc. (2013)

Abstract: Robert Schumann wrote his Cello Concerto in A Minor, op. 129, in two weeks in 1850, shortly after moving to Düsseldorf to assume the position of city music director. Schumann proposed an arrangement of the piece for solo cello and string quartet to his publisher Breitkopf & Härtel in 1853, but his proposal was rejected. The composer’s conception of a chamber version of the piece, here realized for the first time by Ka-Wai Yu, allows cellists, scholars, and music lovers to enjoy the piece outside an orchestral setting, rediscovering the intimacy and chamber music character of performances in Schumann’s time. The present edition is also a practical version for cellists to become better acquainted with the orchestra part, improve their ensemble skills, or even perform the piece without hiring an orchestra.

The edition is available for purchase at the website of  A-R Editions, Inc

Click here to watch a live recording of this string quartet-accompanied version of Schumann's Cello Concerto.

The 5-String Cello Project  

Dr. Yu’s recently awarded a Faculty Research Grant on his research project “The 5-String Cello: a Research Project on the Violoncello Piccolo Literature.”

  • The project will include performances of J. S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012 originally written for this instrument, as well as cello/string repertoire that would be performed or adapted for the violoncello piccolo. New editions of those pieces may potentially be published.

  • Composers Luke Dahn (University of Utah) and Jennifer Bellor (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) are commissioned to write new compositions for this instrument.

  • The lecture portion of this project will include a presentation of the history of the violoncello piccolo and demonstration on the instrument in a public lecture during the DSU Early Music Festival in March 2021 and in the DSU symposium for Research, Innovation and Creativity.

  • Click here  for a lecture- demo video on the violoncello piccolo by Dr. Yu during the Fresno International Cello Festival 2019.

Cello Ensemble Music Publication  

With many years of playing in and directing a cello ensemble of 10 up to 120 cellists on stage, Dr. Yu has transcribed many works for cello ensemble.  The Ovation Press, a publisher based in Illinois, has published his transcriptions of Beethoven’s Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 for cello octet and Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major for cello quintet.  Please feel free to contact Dr. Yu for his other transcriptions.

© 2020 by Ka-Wai Yu

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