Meet the Musicians: Eric Han

Through his instrument, Seattle Symphony Cello Eric Han says he found a third language he could use to communicate with the world.

By Andrew Stiefel

Eric Han has been playing the cello since he was six, but he’s recently become intrigued by another art form — photography. “I realized that photos were the only way we have to hold onto all these memories,” he explains. “For me it’s about capturing things that I see or want to hold onto.”

So far, his favorite photo is of the Olympic Peninsula, taken from the rooftop of his house. “The sunset was perfectly reflected off the snowy mountains and, in the water, there is a single boat with “Peace” written on the back,” he says. “It was good timing to capture the calmness of the ocean with the peaceful boat sailing away. Simple, but powerful.”

Of course, his lifelong passion stars in many of his pictures. Laughing, Eric admits that “I’m a super cello nerd, so I take a lot of photos of my cello. You can see the different grains in the wood and you can almost see the carvings in the surface of the instrument.”

Although he started the cello early, Eric says that it wasn’t until later that he began to truly appreciate his instrument. “It was in my teens, my late teens, when I really felt that this was a third language that I could use to communicate,” he recalls. “I speak Korean and English fluently, but beyond the language barrier, music creates this amazing bridge to communicate our feelings and emotions with each other.”

Eric says that he feels fortunate to have found a family of colleagues that share his joy and energy for making music together. “Everybody in the cello section contributes in a way that is so positive and so strong,” he says. “It comes from so much love for the music, so much love for each other, and so much love for the audience.”

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Posted on February 15, 2019