Sophie Shao, cello
At the age of nineteen, cellist Sophie Shao received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and has since performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winner of top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky Competitions, the New York Times has applauded her “eloquent, powerful” interpretations of repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Crumb.
Highlights of this season include the opening night performance of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s season, a performance with Andre Watts in Saratoga Springs, and a tour of New England with “Sophie Shao and Friends”—her popular, flexible ensemble. Ms. Shao recently collaborated with film composer Howard Shore on his score for The Betrayal resulting in a commission of a concerto for her during the 2011–2012 Season. Recent highlights include a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, a performance of Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Cho-Liang Lin in Indianapolis, world-premiere performances of Richard Wilson’s Concerto for cello and mezzo-soprano with the American Symphony Orchestra, and recital and chamber music appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Northwest, Middlebury College, Union College-Schenectady, Music Mountain (with the Shanghai Quartet) among many other venues across the country. Ms. Shao’s annual “Sophie Shao and Friends” touring groups have received acclaim throughout New England. She is also a frequent guest at many of the leading festivals around the country including Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Ms. Shao can be heard on EMI Classics, Bridge Records (for the Marlboro Music Festival’s 50th Anniversary recording), and on Albany Records. Her recording releases in 2009 include Richard Wilson’s Brash Attacks on Albany Records and Howard Shore’s original score for the movie The Betrayal on Howe Records. She may also be heard on an upcoming release on Koch Records in the music of George Tsontakis.
A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. At age thirteen she enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying cello with David Soyer and chamber music with Felix Galimir. After graduating from the Curtis Institute, she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale College and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. Sophie Shao is on the faculty of Vassar College and the Bard Conservatory of Music.