Olivia Yelim Cho is a Korean-Canadian cellist from Vancouver, BC. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan, where she is a James B. Angell Scholar. Formerly a student at the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) in the Young Artist Collegiate Program, Olivia began her musical studies at the age of five under the tutelage of Joseph Elworthy. Additional teachers include baroque and modern cellist Kristin von der Goltz, whom Olivia worked with during a study-abroad in early 2020, and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, whom she studied with on fellowship at the 2019 Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS).
Olivia is very interested in musical outreach and exploring the influence of music on society. She feels that musicians have a responsibility to use their voice in advocating for social justice. This past July, Olivia worked with her sister to organize a socially-distanced benefit concert, titled con moto, which raised funds for local groups supporting Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives. Olivia also enjoys performing in venues such as senior homes, hospitals, and churches, as well as working with younger musicians. She is currently a teaching assistant for the new VAM Aldo Parisot Cello Ensemble, and has previously mentored young musicians in the 2018 Vancouver Quiring Chamber Music Camp.
In 2020, Olivia was named by CBC Music as one of “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30.” She also received the Isabel Overton Bader Award at the 2020 Bader & Overton Canadian Cello Competition. In 2017, she attended the Orford Music Academy on full scholarship and the AMFS as a recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant from VAM. Further notable events include a recital for the Vancouver Women’s Musical Society (2017), her solo debut at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre with the VAM Symphony Orchestra (2014) as the youngest-ever winner of the Kay Meek Competition, and receiving first prize in the Canadian Music Competition (2013).