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Mark Gibbs, Principal Cello, Robert A. Kipp Chair

Praised by the Kansas City Star for his “sweet, sensuous tone and a sophisticated feel for long-breathed lines,” Principal Cellist Mark Tsuyoshi Gibbs holds the Robert A. Kipp chair in the Kansas City Symphony. Prior to this appointment in 1999, Gibbs earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University, where he was a student of Hans Jorgen Jensen. At Northwestern, Gibbs was named principal cellist of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He also worked closely with Jensen as a teaching assistant. Gibbs’ numerous awards include the Northwestern University Civic Scholar String Fellowship, the Union League of Chicago Civic and Arts Foundation Prize, first place in the Northwestern University School of Music Concerto Competition, first prize in the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artist National Competition, and grand prize in the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition. He has appeared many times as a soloist with the Kansas City Symphony, including twice on Classical Series opening-night concerts as well as on the Symphony’s 2015 all-Saint-Saëns disc from Reference Recordings, which earned a Grammy® Award nomination. He is proud to be known as a “Fine Kansan Cellist” (Audiophilia Online Magazine) and resides in Overland Park with his wife, Kansas City Symphony Principal Second Violinist Tamamo Someya Gibbs, and their daughters, Mika and Maho.

Ten questions about me:

What year did you join the Kansas City Symphony?


What is your earliest musical memory?

Listening to an old LP of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony while playing with my Legos on a tatami floor in Japan.

How did you choose your instrument?

My father likes the cello and they needed cellists for the fourth grade orchestra.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

When I was ten years old my parents took me to see a performance by the Tokyo Quartet and I knew that I wanted to be a musician for the rest of my life.

What is the most challenging work for your instrument?

Dvořák Cello Concerto

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

Playing for my colleagues is a great privelege. Getting to know some of our regular concert-goers is also very rewarding.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Marrying Tamamo and starting a family.

Which is your Kansas City Barbecue "joint" of choice?

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue

What is a "must-have" in your fridge?


What is your ideal pizza?

Ham and Pineapple