Canada’s Vancouver Symphony names Henry Shapard, 21, as principal cello

Posted on: April 29, 2020

“From 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on any given night, [Yale University undergraduate] Henry Shapard ’20 can be found in the Pierson College basement, playing the cello,” writes Phoebe Liu in Friday’s (4/24) Yale Daily News, the university’s student newspaper. “Last month, following a monthslong audition process, Shapard became the principal cellist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra … in western Canada…. Shapard, who is 21 … began playing cello at 3 years old. He knew he wanted to play for the rest of his life when he saw the Cleveland Orchestra perform Anton Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, he said…. Halfway through his sophomore year [at Yale], one of Shapard’s friends dared him to audition for the Boston Symphony…. The audition panel dismissed Shapard after less than two minutes of playing…. ‘I remember … thinking: One, I am so not ready for this, and two, I know there’s a day where I’ll walk out onto a stage like this and be ready for it. And I want to get to that point,’ says Shapard … [During] the pandemic, the Vancouver Symphony received funding to secure its musicians’ jobs. Shapard has already helped create material for some of the orchestra’s digital projects.”