Merit School of Music

Amali Premawardhana

Faculty: Cello


Chicago-area cellist Amali Premawardhana is a proud Merit alumna, having started cello lessons here at the age of 9 with Elizabeth Anderson. Merit was essentially her second home all the way through high school. She began her undergraduate studies at Indiana University as a student of Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and completed her degree at the Manhattan School of Music, with Julia Lichten.

Amali has enjoyed a career as an orchestral and chamber musician, and has performed regularly with groups such as the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra of New York, whose seasons are housed at Carnegie Hall. She has toured nationally and internationally, with the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and the music collective, Brooklyn Raga Massive. She also co-leads her own ensemble, Karavika, which blends Western chamber music with musical traditions of India and Sri Lanka.

Passionate about education, Amali completed her Masters in Music Education at the University of Bridgeport, CT, and also trained in Suzuki Cello pedagogy at the New York School for Strings where she was registered in Every Child Can and Books 1-8. Amali served as the Director of Suzuki Strings in the Greenwich Public Schools system. Currently, Amali is based in the Chicago area and teaches at Merit, and is also on the adjunct faculty at Elmhurst University. She plays cello with the New Philharmonic Orchestra and various performing groups in the Chicago area.  

When not teaching or performing, Amali loves spending time with her husband and three children, visiting with friends and relatives, cooking, camping, and exploring new places.