music

Sophie Shao

Instructor, Cello

Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the 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 throughout the United States and performed the UK premiere of Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Other recent 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, Richard Wilson’s “The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony Orchestra, and Saint-Saens’s “La muse et la poete” at the Bard Music Festival.

Shao has given recitals in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Middlebury College, and the Phillips Collection, as well as the complete Bach Suites at Union College and in New York City. Her dedication to chamber music has led to her “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups which have toured from Brattleboro, Vermont to Sedona, Arizona. She was a member of Chamber Music Society Two, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s program for emerging young artists. She is also committed to the music of our time and collaborations with living composers.

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; and Howard Shore’s original score for the movie The Betrayal on Howe Records. Her performance of Howard Shore’s “Mythic Gardens” at the KKL in Lucerne was released in 2017 on Sony Classical along with Lang Lang’s performance of “Ruins and Memory.”

A native of Houston, Texas, Shao was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. She also studied with David Soyer at the Curtis Institute of Music, and with Aldo Parisot at Yale College, where she received a BA in religious studies. Shao received her MM from the Yale School of Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She is also on the faculty of Vassar College and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey from 1855 once owned by Pablo Casals.