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 includes a thirteen-city tour with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra in performances of the Elgar and Haydn (C Major) concerti, recitals across the country, and her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” tour of the Northeast. Last season, she premiered Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with the American Symphony Orchestra and returned to the ASO to perform Saint-Saens’s “La muse et la poete” at the Bard Music Festival. She performed recitals for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Middlebury College, the complete Bach suites at Union College and in New York City, and presented a “Sophie Shao and Friends” tour including from Brattleboro, VT to Sedona, AZ.

Recent performances include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Cho-Liang Lin in Indianapolis, the world-premiere of Richard Wilson’s Concerto for cello and mezzo-soprano, and recital and chamber music appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and Music Mountain (with the Shanghai Quartet) among many other presenters across the country. She is also a frequent guest at many 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. 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 Vassar College and the Bard Conservatory of Music and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1860 once owned by Pablo Casals.