Sophie Shao, ‘cello

Sophie Shao, ‘cello

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

Jacqueline Choi, ‘cellist

Jacqueline Choi, ‘cellist

“An emerging star.”
— Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

Cellist Jacqueline Choi, the 1st place winner of the 2010 Edwin H. & Leigh W. Schadt String Competition, is an active soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician sought after in the United States and abroad. Having made her concerto debut at age 12 in Seoul, Korea, Ms. Choi was invited to solo with the Boston Symphony, Bucheon Philharmonic, Boston Landmarks, Allentown Symphony, and New England Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestras, and toured Brazil and Venezuela as a soloist with NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. She recently made her Paris debut with an all-French program at the Musée du Louvre in France, and played in the Kumho-Asiana Rising Star Series in Seoul, Korea. One of the staples of her recital programming is the inclusion of her own transcriptions of 19th century songs, such as those of Brahms, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann, and Strauss.

Ms. Choi is a recipient of the prestigious Kumho Prodigy Concert Award. She won first place in numerous concerto competitions including those held by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Brockton Symphony, the New England Philharmonic, and the New England Conservatory, and was also a prizewinner of the 24th Irving M. Klein International String Competition.

Also a devoted chamber musician, Ms. Choi appeared in concert with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing with Itzhak Perlman, and toured major cities of Canada with the Kumho Virtuosi Trio. She is currently active as the founding cellist of her piano trio, Trio Céleste, who have recently been appointed Artists-in-Residence at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. Also a member of the Kumho-Asiana Soloists, she performs in their chamber music series and international tours on a regular basis.

Ms. Choi has participated in the International Program at Music@Menlo, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, collaborating with Itzhak Perlman, John Adams, John Harbison, Donald Weilerstein, Stephen Coxe, and other such renowned artists. As a member of the Perlman Music Program, Ms. Choi gives solo and chamber music concerts at major New York venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as performing on their international tours.

Jacqueline Choi is currently pursuing her doctor of musical arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She completed her master of music degree at the Juilliard School and her bachelor of music degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Her teachers include Clive Greensmith, Timothy Eddy, and Paul Katz. Ms. Choi plays on a 1854 Giuseppe Rocca cello graciously loaned by the Kumho-Asiana Arts Foundation.

Rafal Jezierski, ‘cello

Cellist Rafal Jezierski made his New York City recital debut at the Polish Consulat, as a part of “Salon di Virtuosi” 2003-2004 Series.

He was awarded the Lotos Club Foundation Prize in the Arts for his achievements and promise. This honor came shortly after winning the Eisenberg Competition where he had competed against string players as well as pianists.

As the principal of both the Juilliard Orchestra and Symphony, he has worked with conductors such as Jahja Ling, Gerard Schwarz, George Manahan and Steven Osgood. Mr. Jezierski has also appeared as a concert soloist with such orchestras as the Jeunesses Musicales, New Amsterdam and Manhattan School of Music Symphony.

Festival experience includes the Music Festival of the Hamptons, Simon’s Pond Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the New York String Seminar at Carnegie Hall. He has also collaborated in chamber music performances with such notable artists as Pinchas Zukerman, David Soyer, Lukas Foss, Eugene Drucker and Peter Frankl.

During the summer of 2003 he participated in the Spoleto Festival where together with Andrew Yee and Christopher Guzman was chosen to perform Gian Carlo Menotti’s Suite for Two Cellos and Piano for the composer’s 92nd birthday celebration (the performance was broadcast live on TV). The review by Michael Kennedy of the London Telegraph reads “they gave a spellbindingly virtuosic performance.”

Currently Mr. Jezierski is the cellist of the Paderewski Trio which has recently won the 32nd Artists International’s New York Debut Award auditions and therefore performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on November 7th. The other engagements have included the opening gala concert of the Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music Series on October 31st which was broadcasted by WQXR. During the season he also serves as the principal cellist of the New England Symphonic Ensemble which performs regularly at Carnegie Hall.

Mr. Jezierski earned his master’s degree from the Juilliard School in 2004 and his bachelor’s degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2002. His teachers have included Bonnie Hampton, Aldo Parisot, Harvey Shapiro and David Soyer.

He was selected to play in master classes for Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell and Janos Starker.

Maxine Neuman, ‘cello

Maxine Neuman, ‘cello

Cellist Maxine Neuman’s solo and chamber music career spans North America, South America, Europe and Japan. A grant recipient from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts and a three-time Grammy Award winner, her biography appears in Who’s Who in the World. She is a founding member of the Claremont Duo, the Crescent String Quartet, the Vermont Cello Quartet, and the Walden Trio, groups with which she has traveled and recorded extensively.

Her long list of recording credits includes Deutsche Grammophon, Columbia, Angel, EMI, Nonesuch, Biddulph, CRI, Orion, Leonarda, Argo, Opus One, SONY/Virgin, AMC, Artek, Vanguard, Musical Heritage, Albany, Northeastern and CBS World Records.

She has appeared as soloist before a sold-out audience in New York’s Town Hall in the American premiere of Giovanni Battista Viotti’s only cello concerto, and for Austrophon, she recorded Schumann Cello Concerto in Count Esterhazy’s historic palace in Austria. She can also be heard in such diverse settings as the Montreux Jazz Festival, the films of Jim Jarmusch, and with the rock band Metallica. She has expanded the chamber ensemble repertoire — especially for multiple celli and cello and guitar — by arranging and transcribing works from every period. A longtime champion of contemporary music, she has commissioned and premiered works by many of today’s leading composers.

Distinguished as a teacher as well as performer, Ms. Neuman has served as a juror for numerous international competitions. On the faculty at New York’s School for Strings and Hoff-Barthelson Music School, she has taught at Bennington College, Williams College and C.W. Post University.

Her cello is a J.B.Guadagnini, dating from 1772.

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