Cellist Sophie Shao Returns to Middlebury April 6 with an All-Star Piano Quartet
August 11, 2014
Joined by Acclaimed Collaborators Frank Huang, Roger Tapping, and Pei-Yao Wang
Middlebury, VT—Award-winning cellist Sophie Shao, a frequent guest on the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series, will return on Saturday, April 6, to perform a program of Beethoven’s String Trio in D Major, Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor, and Brahms’ epic Piano Quartet in A Major. Shao will be joined by violinist Frank Huang (concertmaster of the Houston Symphony); violist Roger Tapping (formerly of the Takács Quartet); and frequent Series guest pianist Pei-Yao Wang. Shao’s knack for gathering graceful combinations of musicians is a testament to her collaborative strengths.
Shao is a highly accomplished cellist with a string of accolades and honors to her credit. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and won top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions. Just this season, she performed the premiere of film composer Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with the American Symphony Orchestra, she played the complete Bach Suites (in one evening) at Union College, and she led her annual “Sophie Shao and Friends” tour from Middlebury, Vermont to Sedona, Arizona. Other highlights of the 2012–2013 season include a two-week American tour as soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Keith Lockhart, and a recording with Grammy-winning producer Adam Abeshouse of the complete Bach Suites. Shao attended The Curtis Institute of Music at age thirteen, and continued her studies at Yale, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. She is now on the faculty of Vassar College and the Bard Conservatory. She performs on an 1860 cello made by legendary French instrument maker Honoré Derazey, and once owned by cello great Pablo Casals.
Violinist Frank Huang was appointed concertmaster of the Houston Symphony in 2010. He was first prize winner of both the 2003 Naumburg Competition and the 2000 Hannover International Violin Competitions. Recent concerts include debuts in Wigmore Hall, Salle Cortot, the Kennedy Center, Herbst Theatre, and a second recital in Alice Tully Hall, which featured the world premiere of Donald Martino’s Sonata for Solo Violin. His commitment to chamber music has taken him to the Marlboro, Caramoor, and Seattle festivals, and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. He frequently participates in Musicians from Marlboro tours, and was selected to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two program.
Born in England, violist Roger Tapping played in a number of London’s leading chamber ensembles before joining Britain’s longest established quartet, the Allegri Quartet. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music, and was a member of the English Chamber Orchestra, and a founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 1995, he joined the esteemed Takács Quartet in the U.S. During the next ten years with the Takács, he performed throughout the world, and made many successful recordings, earning three Gramophone awards, a Grammy award, three more Grammy nominations, and many others. Today, Tapping teaches at the New England Conservatory, where he is Chair of Chamber Music, and recently joined the Juilliard String Quartet.
Pianist Pei-Yao Wang made her orchestral debut with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra at the age of eight, and has since performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. She has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Orion, Chicago, Mendelssohn, and Miró quartets, and has performed with other distinguished artists such as Claude Frank, Hilary Hahn, David Shifrin, and Mitsuko Uchida. She is also regularly invited to perform at festivals including Marlboro, Caramoor, Norfolk, La Jolla, and Ravinia, and is a former member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two program. Born in Taipei, Wang studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Seymour Lipkin and Gary Graffman, before studying with Claude Frank at Yale University, where she received her Master’s of Music.
The concert by Sophie Shao and Friends will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 8:00 P.M., in the Concert Hall of Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center for the Arts is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
Photo of Roger Tapping: Susan Wilson