September 19, 2009
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
September 19, 2009
September 21, 2009
Mr. Si-Hon Ma
Kirk & Nice Funeral Home
80 Stenton Avenue
The violinist and teacher, Ma Si-hon, Died Saturday, September 12, in a nursing home in suburban Philadelphia. He had been in failing health for some time. Mr. Ma was the president of the Si-Yo Music Society which presented an annual series of chamber music concerts in New York from 1971-2004. The first concerts, with the participation of his wife, the pianist Tung Kwong-Kwong, who survives him, were performed in the Chinese School in Chinatown. Because of their popularity they soon transferred to the Schimmel Auditorium of nearby Pace University. Eventually the concerts were moved to Merkin Hall near Lincoln Center. Some of the musicians who collaborated with Mr. and Mrs. Ma in the Si-Yo Concerts were Stanley Drucker, the solo clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, Benita Valente, Soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, Jerry Grossman, the solo Cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Raphael Hillyer, violist of Boston Symphony Orchestra and many many more. Mr. Ma owned and performed on the Joachim Stradivarius violin, which is thought to be the instrument Joseph Joachim played when he give the first performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto.
Ma Si-Hon was born near Canton, China, on April 3 1925 and came to this country from China in 1948. He enrolled at the New England Conservatory, where he studies with Richard Burgin, receiving a Masters degree in 1950 and the Artists Diploma in 1952. In 1951, he became the first violinist to receive the Heifetz Award at Tanglewood. In the 50’s he played in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell, later leaving to join Tung Kwong-Kwong for several years of touring and performing in Europe, appearing at the Salzburg and Dartington Festivals, among many others. They continued to tour in the 1960s and 1970s in America under Columbia Artists Management. The Mas made several tours of the Far East, performing and teaching both in Taiwan and Mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Bangkok.
In 1958, he invented a new mute for stringed instruments which is placed behind the bridge and does not have to be removed when not in use, a great improvement over the older standard mute. It was given the name “The Si-Hon Mute”
From 1971 to 1994, Ma Si-hon was a professor of music at Kent State University in Ohio. During that period he maintained his performing career and also continued to teach in New York City.
In addition to his wife, Ma SI-hon is survived by two sisters and many nieces and nephews.