Sophie Shao

Assistant Professor of Cello

M.M., Yale School of Music

B.A., Yale University

A.D., Curtis Institute of Music

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 described as “eloquent, powerful,” the LA Times noted as “impressive” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.” Shao has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States and has commissioned Howard Shore’s cello concerto Mythic Gardens, performing the premiere 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. She also premiered Richard Wilson’s The Cello Has Many Secrets and Shih-Hui Chen’s multimedia concerto Our Son is Not Coming Home to Dinner.

Ms. Shao has given recitals in Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Middlebury College, Phillips Collection, University of Notre Dame, Lyric Society of New York, at Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, and the complete Bach Suites at Union College. Her dedication to chamber music has conceived her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups and performs in festivals around the country such as Chamber Music Northwest and Festival Mosaic. She has attended the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Steans Institute, and a member of Chamber Music Society Two, a young artist residency of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She is a dedicated music educator, presenting a lecture “Why Bach is Still Relevant in the 21st Century” and recital at the National Gallery of Art, artist-in-residence at the Zeta Charter Schools in the Bronx, masterclasses at University of Michigan, Juilliard, Indiana University, and on faculty at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches cello, chamber music, and organizes an annual UConn Cello Day. She has previously been on the faculty of Vassar College, Princeton University, and Bard Conservatory.

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, Herschel Garfein’s The Layers on Asic Records, and Howard Shore’s Mythic Gardens on Sony Classical. Her new solo album, CanCan Macabre, has just been released on Centaur Records.

A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six, and studied with Shirley Trepel, the 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.

Sophie Shao
Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-1617
Office LocationMusic Building 203