Chizuko "Cheeko" Matsusaka

Chizuko "Cheeko" Matsusaka

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First year with SO: 2002

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

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.


Written byHerald Tribune

 Literally gripping the arms of my seat, I was not the only one propelled on this rollercoaster of delightful music.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Every section and soloist within the orchestra played their role with strength and beauty; every tree proud and tall. Tali served as an excellent guide leading the forces with assured confidence. The overall sound was lush and, yes, intense just where it needed to be.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The Sarasota Orchestra was brimming with bubbling energy...  

Written byHerald Tribune

 A lifetime of musical moments, cinematic in scope, gave every section of the orchestra a leading role at one time or another. Chief among them was the virtuosic solo of concertmaster Daniel Jordan.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 It was a thrill ride resulting in an explosion of audience enthusiasm.  

Written byThe Observer

 Andrew Lane, the Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, knows how to program a winning event and this concert had something for everyone. It also brought in a whole new audience that seemed dazzled by the performances.  

Written byThe Observer

 The Sarasota Orchestra played a program this past weekend filled with so much color, it was like visiting the Louvre.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The performance... was exceptional, bringing new and stunning sonorities from a larger than usual Sarasota Orchestra under the dynamic leadership of Anu Tali.  

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About Us

Our mission is to engage, educate, and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.

 709 N Tamiami Tr, Sarasota, FL 34236

 Box Office: 941.953.3434

 Administration: 941.953.4252

 Box Office Hours:
Our staff is here to help by phone or email Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.
The office is currently closed to the public.