Hailed for her “sublime cello prowess” (Take Effect), “ravishing bow tone” (Textura), “terrific focus” and “hypnotic effect” (BBC), internationally acclaimed Canadian cellist ARLEN HLUSKO is a dynamic and versatile young artist who has performed extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. She has appeared professionally as a soloist and chamber musician in prestigious venues across the world, including all 3 halls at Carnegie Hall, Field Concert Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Le Studio Philharmonie de Paris, Seoul Arts Center, The Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater & Verizon Hall, Roy Thompson Hall, London’s Southbank Centre, Jack Singer Concert Hall, Merkin Hall, Staatsoper Hanover, Library of Congress, The Metropolitan Museum, and Guangzhou Opera House.
As a soloist, Arlen has appeared with numerous orchestras (including the LA Phil, BBC Concert Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Raidió Teilifís Éireann Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke, Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, and more), has given recitals across North America and China, and has been a featured performer on NPR, WNYC, BBC (UK), CBC (Canada), and WHYY.
Arlen is a passionate chamber musician, and has collaborated with renowned artists such as Ida Kavafian, Donald Weilerstein, Jordi Savall, Roger Tapping, Roberto Diaz, Hsin-Yun Huang, Ricardo Morales, Lynn Harrell, Tara Helen O'Connor, Andres Diaz, Stephen Taylor, Ronald Leonard, the Tokyo & Miami String Quartets, and members of the Guarneri, Orion, London Haydn, and St. Lawrence String Quartets and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Festival appearances include Spoleto USA’s Bank of America Chamber Music, Bang on a Can’s Summer Fest at MASS MoCA, Tippet Rise, Bay Chamber Concerts, Perlman Music Program's Chamber Music Workshop & Winter Residencies in NY & FL, Music from Angel Fire, the Taos School of Music, Four Seasons Winter Workshop, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, The Artosphere Festival, The Banff Centre's Chamber Residency and Masterclasses, Lake George Music Festival, Innsbrook Festival’s Emerging Artists Program, Ireland's Clandeboye Festival, Pinchas Zukerman’s Young Artist Program, and Domaine Forget Chamber Festival. She has performed in Curtis on Tour ensembles across Asia, Europe, and the United States, has mentored and coached younger students at the Curtis Institute of Music, and has been on faculty at Curtis Summerfest. She has also been artist-in-residence at Rutgers University and Skidmore College.
Additionally, Arlen enjoys orchestral playing, and has performed as Principal Cellist of several ensembles, including the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and Symphony in C, and was invited to perform as guest Principal Cellist of The Banff Centre Orchestra.
Arlen is passionate about finding creative ways to use music to serve and enrich her community. She was chosen as a 2015-16 Curtis ArtistYear Fellow, enabling her to spend a year as a citizen-artist dedicated to finding meaningful ways to reach individuals with autism and dementia, mainly focusing on communities that have limited access to the arts. Through this, she forged partnerships with the Penn Memory Center and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and, as a continuation of some of this work, Arlen won a 2016 Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant to found her series, Philadelphia Performances for Autism. Equally committed to pedagogy, Arlen has served as a Teaching Artist for Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Project 440. Arlen has also recently collaborated in performance with teaching artists from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra; given masterclasses in the United States, Canada, China, and Germany; coached several youth orchestras in the greater Philadelphia area; lead workshops for high school and college aged students on Interactive Performances; and actively maintains private cello studios in Philadelphia and New York. Since 2011, Arlen has frequently volunteered as both coach and private cello teacher with “Play on, Philly!” and “Youth Orchestra Los Angeles,” and has been asked to speak at conferences and symposiums in Los Angeles and Philadelphia as a result of some of this work. She also has previous experience teaching advanced placement music theory and ear training at the Colburn School of Performing Arts.
Arlen is a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she held the Jacqueline du Pre Memorial Fellowship and studied with Carter Brey and Peter Wiley. Her previous teachers include Andres Diaz, Ronald Leonard, John Kadz, David Hetherington, Roberta Janzen, and Anne Vallentyne. She has won top prizes in several competitions, including Kingsville International Competition's Best Performance by a Cellist and Calgary Kiwanis' coveted Rose Bowl. She has been a featured performer on NPR’s “What Makes it Great” with host Rob Kapilow. As principal cellist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis generously loaned Arlen a rare Guadagnini cello from their instrument bank. During the rest of her tenure at school, she was very fortunate to play on a Joseph Hill cello, again generously on loan to her from Curtis' instrument bank.
Arlen was recently appointed cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, having previously been a core member of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect (formerly known as Ensemble ACJW, or “The Academy”). Based out of the east coast (NYC/Philadelphia), she is also a member of Dolce Suono Ensemble and the Ellipses Ensemble, and regularly performs with other such ensembles as Frisson, Manhattan Chamber Players, The Crossing Choir, Jupiter Chamber Players, and Network for New Music. She is also a member of IRIS Chamber Orchestra and Symphony in C. Arlen recently won a Grammy for her collaboration with The Crossing Choir on Lansing McLoskey’s incredible Zealot Canticles. In 2021, Arlen released her debut solo album, featuring Scott Ordway’s exquisite Nineteen which she commissioned in 2018. The album has been met with widely positive critical acclaim. Arlen was also featured on CBC Music’s “30 hot classical musicians under 30” 2021 list. Arlen has also performed with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, is on the substitute list for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has served for several summers as Assistant to the Director (previously Ida Kavafian, now Tara Helen O’Connor and Daniel Phillips) at Music From Angel Fire.
When not on stage or in rehearsal, Arlen can be found scaling mountains and communing with nature, or lost in another world on the NYC subway by means of some thought-provoking novel. In her spare time, Arlen enjoys fashion design, hiking, photography, swimming, reading, hot yoga, learning about neurology and psychology, and spending time with friends and family. Having grown up in a quiet, rural area of Canada, Arlen finds immense joy in getting outside and exploring nature, and is always up for an adventure.