Zlatomir Fung

"Zlatomir Fung, a young American cellist of Bulgarian and Chinese heritage, with first prizes in the Tchaikovsky and other major competitions, dispatched fearsome challenges with jaw-dropping brilliance." — Dallas Morning News
a man in his 20s, of eastern european and chinese heritage, smiles with the scroll of his cello curving across one cheek, partly covering his eye and eyeglasses

The youngest cellist ever to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Zlatomir Fung is poised to become one of the preeminent cellists of our time. Astounding audiences with his boundless virtuosity and exquisite sensitivity, the 24-year-old has already proven himself a star among the next generation of world-class musicians.

As Artist-in-Residence with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2023-2024 season, Fung appears at London’s Cadogan Hall and tours the UK with the orchestra. In North America, he debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Springs Philharmonic (performing Anna Clyne's Dance for Cello and Orchestra), Sarasota Orchestra, and Winnipeg Symphony. He also debuts at the Rhode Island and Sacramento Philharmonics and returns to the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Internationally, he tours Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Japan; he performs the UK premiere of Katherine Balch's whisper concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and appears with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra in the Canary Islands.

Recent concerto highlights include his debuts with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, and BBC Philharmonic, as well as Dallas, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, Utah, Rochester, and Kansas City Symphonies.

Fung made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2021 and was described by Bachtrack as "one of those rare musicians with a Midas touch: he quickly envelopes every score he plays in an almost palpable golden aura.” Other recent highlights include returns to the Wigmore Hall and appearances at the Verbier, Dresden, Leoš Janáček International, and Tsinandali Festivals, Cello Biennale Amsterdam, Bravo! Vail, Grant Park Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival.

Alongside demonstrating a mastery of the canon with his impeccable technique, Fung brings exceptional insight into the depths of contemporary repertoire, championing composers such as Unsuk Chin, Katherine Balch, and Anna Clyne. In 2023, under the baton of Gemma New and with the Dallas Symphony, Fung gave the world premiere of Katherine Balch’s whisper concerto with “jaw-dropping brilliance” (Dallas Morning News) as the dedicatee of the work.

A winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 2017 Astral National Auditions, Fung has taken the top prizes at the 2018 Alice & Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition, the 2016 George Enescu International Cello Competition, and the 2015 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, among others. He was selected as a 2016 US Presidential Scholar for the Arts and was awarded the 2016 Landgrave von Hesse Prize at the Kronberg Academy Cello Masterclasses.

Fung was a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Winner in 2022 and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2020. He was named to WXQR’s Artist Propulsion Lab in 2023. Fung has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and has appeared six times on NPR’s From the Top. He plays a 1717 cello by David Tecchler of Rome, kindly loaned to him through the Beare’s International Violin Society by a generous benefactor.  He was appointed to the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2024.

Of Bulgarian and Chinese heritage, Zlatomir Fung was born into a family of mathematicians and began playing cello at age three. Fung studied at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Richard Aaron and Timothy Eddy, where he was a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship. Outside of music, his interests include chess, cinema, and creative writing.