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Cellist Sophie Shao Returns to Middlebury October 2

September 10, 2015

Opening Concert of 2015-16 Performing Arts Series Will Feature String and Piano Works by Beethoven and Dvořák

SophieShaoCello-cropped.jpgMiddlebury, VT—The Performing Arts Series’ 96th season opens on October 2 with a superb concert led by cellist Sophie Shao. An audience favorite, Shao will perform alongside a hand-picked chamber ensemble of three musical friends. Their updated program will include Beethoven’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 16; Beethoven’s String Trio in G Major, Op. 9 No. 1; and Dvořák’s Piano Trio in F Minor, Op. 65.

Shao’s impromptu, but always note-perfect, chamber ensembles have proved a highlight of many recent seasons. This year Shao will be joined by violinist Carmit Zori, pianist Gilles Vonsattel, and violist Paul Neubauer. Shao’s ensembles have garnered acclaim from both audiences and critics. “The players maintained a seamless cohesion and a warm, lean tone. This was all the more admirable because they’re not a regular ensemble, just colleagues and friends”—the Times Union.

SophieShao2-photoChristianSteiner.jpgCellist Sophie Shao attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music at age 13, and continued her studies at Yale, receiving a B.A. in Religious Studies and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky international music competitions. Now her career takes her all around the world; recent highlights include her Washington recital debut at the Phillips Collection, an appearance on “What Makes it Great” at Lincoln Center, and performances of Howard Shore’s Mythic Gardens (a concerto written for her) with the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. Shao plays an 1860 cello by French instrument maker Honoré Derazey, once owned by the legendary cellist Pablo Casals.

Carmit-Zori.jpgAt the recommendation of iconic musicians Isaac Stern and Alexander Schneider, violinist Carmit Zori came to the United States from her native Israel at the age of 15 to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. Winner of the Leventritt and Pro Musicis Awards, she has toured internationally with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and with Musicians from Marlboro. Zori has participated in music festivals on three continents, and can be heard in recordings on the Arabesque, Koch International, and Nonesuch labels. Zori is artistic director of the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, which she founded in 2002. This will be Zori’s third appearance at Middlebury with Sophie Shao.

Gilles_Vonsattel-AT-piano.jpgSwiss-born, American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva Competitions. He has performed at Tanglewood; Tonhalle in Zürich; Wigmore Hall in London; in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; in Frankfurt, Germany; and in the U.S. in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, at the Gilmore and Ravinia Festivals, and at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. This will be Vonsattel’s second appearance at Middlebury with Sophie Shao.

PaulNeubauerViola3-PhotoDianeSaldick.jpgCompleting the quartet is violist Paul Neubauer, whose exceptional musicality and effortless playing led the New York Times to call him “a master musician.” Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki Philharmonics. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion, and in Strad, Strings, and People magazines, and is a two-time Grammy nominee.

Making this season-opener concert even more special is the opportunity to attend a special pre-performance dinner. Before settling into Robison Hall, patrons may join fellow concertgoers for a delicious, seasonal meal including wine and dessert. This catered buffet dinner is seated family style, starting at 6:30 PM in the lower lobby. Dinner tickets are $25.

The concert by Sophie Shao and Friends will take place on Friday, October 2, at 8:00 P.M. in Robison Hall (formerly the Concert Hall) in the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, on the campus of Middlebury College. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Concert 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. Tickets go on sale to PASS Members on September 10; for Middlebury ID card holders on September 16; and to the general public on September 21. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Cellist Sophie Shao, photo Christian Steiner

Violinist Carmit Zori

Pianist Gilles Vonsattel

Violist Paul Neubauer, photo Diane Saldick

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax