Cellist Hanbie Park ’23 Channels Leadership and Attentiveness into her Dynamic Musicianship

As a member of Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Groups, and Andover-Lawrence Strings, cellist Hanbie Park ’23 performs vast and engaging repertoires ranging from quartet pieces by Florence Price and solo cello concertos. In her playing, Park captures nuances and depth with mellow, controlled tones. 

Though music has been central to her lifestyle at Andover, Park’s dedication to the cello started as a hobby that unexpectedly developed into something more during her childhood. While she had intended to play the clarinet, a trip with her brother to cello class led her to pick up the string instrument instead. However, Park comments that what truly pushed her to commit to the cello was her first exposure to ensemble playing, an experience that reshaped her perspective on music.  

“A few weeks into my cello playing, I joined this orchestra in my town, and I loved [it]… I feel like it’s so special, the sound you can make as a group… in a group, your role is kind of way more important. Solo—you’re the only one thing, but in a group, your sound is so important. Without it, there’s something missing, and I really enjoyed making new friends throughout playing in groups,” said Park. 

After finding her passion in cello, Park involved herself in various groups such as summer music festivals and other ensembles. During her time at Andover, Park commented that she was not only able to achieve a diverse and in-depth learning, but also was given the opportunity to step up as a leader within her section to help the orchestra create a unified sound. Her playing has since been made more distinctive by her confidence to guide the orchestra’s musical expression. 

“Orchestra-wise, I’ve learned what it means to be a leader within a section, and how important it is…When someone’s in the front who hasn’t really sat in the front before, you really see the difference [in] what a leader can do to a section…the leader is what pulls everyone together. Sure, everybody plays their part individually…But [determining] when to play and everything—that’s what a leader can show you. They’re the one who makes the major decisions. I feel like you also take responsibility as a leader. If your section is like having struggles, you as a leader should be the one to step up,” said Park. 

Friends and peers have noted Park to be an inspirational leader in chamber groups, also pointing out the attentiveness and expression of her pieces. A fellow string player, Brendon Chung ’22 commented on Hanbie’s influence within their Debussy quartet from the Winter, highlighting the unique personality that she imbues within her playing.

“What makes Hanbie’s music special is her outcome of many hours of hard work and care in how she chooses to express herself. From my experience a lot of people, while they might be technically talented, struggle to make the music they play ‘their own’ but I think Hanbie does both extremely well. She’s concentrated, yet has fun while playing music and I think that’s what makes her playing so musical and fun to listen to,” wrote Chung in an email to The Phillipian.

As an engaging player and leader, Park hopes that her efforts within the Andover community can not only set the stage for a new generation of leaders in ensembles, but also inspire those not already participating in music to find passion in an instrument. She hopes that through her unique musical expression and ability to guide others, people will be able to have just as compelling of an experience with music as she did. 

“I feel like because I’ve devoted so much time into it, I don’t think I can imagine myself doing anything else. That doesn’t matter if I don’t enjoy it, but I do enjoy it. That’s the most important thing for anything, finding the one thing that you really enjoy…[Also,] I feel like music helps other people in so many ways, like performing for little kids. [They] hear the music, they’re inspired to start up an instrument at only like four or five years old. Just knowing that this is one way that I inspire others is so meaningful to me,” said Park.