Chizuko "Cheeko" Matsusaka

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First year with SO: 2002

Hometown: Waban, MA

Instrument: Cheeko's cello is a beloved Benjamin Banks (1727–1795). The cello was made sometime in 1790 and features Banks' use of distinctive color in his varnishes and the Amati-inspired arching.

BM from New England Conservatory with Laurence Lesser; MM from SUNY at StonyBrook with Timothy Eddy; post-graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University with Anne Martindale Williams; certification as a CMP from the Music for Healing and Transition Program

Born and raised in Waban, Massachusetts, Cheeko first learned about the cello at age six when her mother drove her to pick up a 3/4 sized instrument. Both of her parents were ardent fans of classical music so all 5 children were taught a music instrument. The early part of her profession was dedicated to chamber music. From 1989 to 1992 she was a member of the Westbrook String Quartet; a prize winner at the 1990 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; the quartet-in-residence at the Dana School of Music; and held summer residencies with the Aspen Music Center and Tanglewood Music Festival. In 2016, she embarked on a life-long interest in the role of music in healthcare.  In August of 2019, she completed 45 patient-hours at Sarasota Memorial Hospital as part of her certification as a therapeutic music practitioner. She worked in coordination with various floor managers and staff members to provide music and art events to help support everyone in the hospital.

Music and neurology (Oliver Sacks, Daniel Levitin); Bluegrass music (Rhiannon Giddens, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill)

Career Highlights:
Finishing the 45 patient hours at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and earning my certification as a Therapeutic Music Practitioner.