Cellist Yi-Mei Templeman aims to creatively fuse genres, and to rethink the typical presentation of classical music in order to welcome people of all backgrounds into her distinctly emotive and intimate storytelling. Yi-Mei hails from Santa Monica, California, but has brought her music to venues across Asia, South America, Canada, and the United States. She has spent past summers at the Perlman Music Program, Yale University's Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program, Carnegie Hall’s Audience Engagement Institute, and the Tanglewood Institute, where she was principal cellist of the Young Artists Orchestra. She also toured Taiwan with the National Taiwan Youth Symphony and performed in the International Piatigorsky Festival. As a chamber musician, she has worked extensively with chamber music mentors Vivian Weilerstein, Don Weilerstein, Merry Peckham, Yeesun Kim, Ayano Ninomiya, Mark Steinberg, and Max Levinson, among many others. She studied privately with LA Phil's associate principal cellist, Ben Hong, for four years.
Outside of her work with Trio Gaia, Yi-Mei is an avid recording musician and moonlights as a singer-songwriter, strumming her cello sideways like a guitar. Most recently, she performed original songs and classical music alike at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in NYC, opening for Ben Abraham. Last year, she was selected to perform in an event at Little Island NYC curated by Sara Bareilles, Michelle Ndegeocello, and Broadway producer Tina Landau, which celebrated six up-and-coming female songwriters. As a recording musician, Yi-Mei's cello-playing has been featured on Sabrina Carpenter’s newest album, in collaborations with Adam Melchor, and on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" for pop artist Ashe. Lately, Yi-Mei has been voraciously working on songwriting, string arranging, and music production. You can find her growing collection of self-produced original music on streaming services under the pseudonym "Yeemz". Her newest self-produced single, "Life's Got a While" was recently released on streaming services. Currently, Yi-Mei is also working on scoring her first short film, “The Unreachable Star”, which will premiere in February of 2023.
An eager collaborator and contemporary music advocate, Yi-Mei has premiered solo cello works written for her by composers Emmett Mathison and Kyrie Mcintosh. In 2022, she performed a piece that she is particularly passionate about, “SEVEN” by Andrea Casarrubios, at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, as the single soloist for her graduation ceremony. During the pandemic, Yi-Mei worked with composer and friend Nico Daglio Fine to record a solo cello piece for a virtual reality installation. She also started a series of co-writing adventures – “The Moonsong Project'' – on social media with dear friend and frequent composing collaborator, Noga Cabo.
Yi-Mei teaches cello privately and as a teaching fellow of Boston Hope Music's partnership with Massachusetts General hospital. She earned a B.M. from the New England Conservatory in 2022 with a minor in Cultural Studies. She is currently pursuing a G.D. and M.M. in Chamber Music with Trio Gaia through NEC’s Professional Piano Trio Residency Program. She studies with Laurence Lesser and Lluis Claret.
When not playing cello (sideways or vertically), you can find Yi-Mei baking cookies for friends, reading surrealist fiction, scouring Depop for colorful vintage clothes, solving Rubik’s Cubes, or practicing yoga.