Sophie Shao, cello
Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, is a versatile and passionate artist whose performances the New York Times has noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.”
Shao has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States: the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Lied Center in Lincoln, Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, California, the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana, and the Bard Music Festival. She has premiered Howard Shore’s cello concerto “Mythic Gardens” with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra, the UK premiere with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, and European premiere with Ludwig Wicki and the 21st Century Orchestra at the KKL in Lucerne. Other past concerto performances include Haydn and Elgar Concerti with Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, and the premiere of Richard Wilson’s “The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Shao has given recitals in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Middlebury College, Phillips Collection, Walter Reade Theater and Rose Studio in Lincoln Center, the complete Bach Suites at Union College and in New York City. Her dedication to chamber music has conceived her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups which have toured from Brattleboro, VT to Sedona, AZ, while other exciting collaborations include Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Cho-Liang Lin, performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and Festival Mosaic, among many other presenters across the country. She has been a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the country including Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was a member of Chamber Music Society Two/Bowers Program, a young artist residency of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Ms. Shao’s recordings include the Complete Bach Suites, Andre Previn’s Reflections for Cello and English Horn and Orchestra on EMI Classics, Richard Wilson’s Diablerie and Brash Attacks and Barbara White’s My Barn Having Burned to the Ground, I Can Now See the Moon on Albany Records, Howard Shore’s original score for the movie The Betrayal on Howe Records, Marlboro Music Festival’s 50th Anniversary on Bridge Records, the music of George Tsontakis on Koch Records, and Howard Shore’s “Mythic Gardens” on Sony Classical.
A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of Shirley Trepel, the 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. She is on the faculty of University of Connecticut and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1855 once owned by Pablo Casals.