A recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, cellist Sophie Shao was the winner of top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions. This season, she makes her Washington recital debut at the Phillips Collection in addition to recitals at Middlebury College, Bargemusic, Tuesday Musical Club (TX), and in other cities around the country. Ms. Shao also performs Beethoven’s A Major Sonata in What Makes it Great, on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series; appears as soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony; and leads a Sophie Shao and Friends tour with violinist Frank Huang and pianist Gilles Vonsattel, among many other appearances. Last season’s highlights included a twelve-city tour with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra in performances of the Elgar and Haydn C Major concerti, recitals across the country, touring performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and participation in a play/discussion of the Prelude from Bach’s C Major Suite, as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival.
Ms. Shao has collaborated with members of the Brentano, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard and Orion quartets, and with artists such as Alessio Bax, Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk, Gil Shaham, David Shifrin, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Andre Watts, among many others. She has also performed as a guest with the Formosa and Shanghai quartets and the Trio Cavatina, and is a frequent guest at many leading festivals including Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Dedicated to the music of our time, Ms. Shao has recently premiered concertos by Richard Wilson and Howard Shore, and has recorded the music of Wilson, George Tsontakis, Anna Weesner and Barbara White. She has collaborated with Cho-Liang Lin on Tan Dun’s dynamic Ghost Opera in Indianapolis, and last summer premiered a work by Lowell Liebermann for mezzo-soprano and ensemble at Chamber Music Northwest. In addition to the aforementioned recordings, Ms. Shao can be heard on EMI Classics, Bridge Records (for the Marlboro Music Festival’s 50th Anniversary recording), and Howe Records. This season, she releases a double-CD set of Bach Cello Suites through the support of the Classical Recording Foundation.
A native of Houston, Texas, Sophie 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 a cello made by Honoré Derazey in 1860, once owned by Pablo Casals.
Bio from the Halcyon Music Festival