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Cellist Sophie Shao and Friends Perform Dec. 4 at the MCA

November 20, 2016

Program to Include Works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Dvořák

Middlebury, VT—Cellist Sophie Shao will return for her ninth consecutive Middlebury College Performing Arts Series appearance on Sunday, December 4 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Shao is always an audience favorite, performing chamber music alongside a group of virtuosic friends each year. Although Shao has been the constant, the rest of the ensemble has changed every year, reflecting Shao’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of supremely talented colleagues. This year’s performance will include violinist Jennifer Frautschi, violist Dimitri Murrath, and pianist Gloria Chien.

The concert program will include Beethoven’s C Minor string trio, Schumann’s Piano Trio no. 2, and Dvořák’s second piano quartet.

About Cellist Sophie Shao

Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, Sophie Shao is a versatile and passionate artist whose performances the New York Times has noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.” She has performed to critical acclaim throughout the United States and around the world, at venues such as the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Rose Studio at Lincoln Center, the Watford Colosseum in Watford, England, the KKL (Culture and Convention Center) in Lucerne, Switzerland; and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Other past 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, and Richard Wilson’s “The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony Orchestra.

Shao is a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the country including Caramoor, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was a member of Chamber Music Society Two, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s program for emerging young artists.

A native of Houston, Texas, Shao began playing the cello at age six, and was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. At age 13 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 on a cello made by Honoré Derazey from 1855 once owned by Pablo Casals.

About Violinist Jennifer Frautschi

Two-time Grammy nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient Jennifer Frautschi has garnered worldwide acclaim as an adventurous musician with a remarkably wide-ranging repertoire. Highlights of her past season included performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Tucson Symphony, as well as return engagements with the Alabama, Arkansas, Belo Horizonte, Chattanooga, Phoenix, and Toledo Symphonies, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. This past summer she performed at the Ojai, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Moab, Bridgehampton, and SaltBay Music Festivals.

Born in Pasadena, California, Frautschi was a student of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School; she also attended Harvard, NEC, and Juilliard, where she studied with Robert Mann. She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the “ex-Cadiz,” on generous loan from a private American foundation.

About Violist Dimitri Murrath

Born in Brussels, Belgian-American violist Dimitri Murrath has made his mark as a soloist on the international scene, performing regularly in venues including Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, the National Auditorium in Madrid, and Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville.

Murrath’s many awards include a 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, first prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition, second prize at the First Tokyo International Viola Competition, the special prize for the contemporary work at the ARD Munich Competition, and a fellowship from the Belgian American Educational Foundation. In 2012, he was named laureate of the Juventus Festival, an award recognizing young European soloists. He began his musical education at the Yehudi Menuhin School and went on to work in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He graduated with an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory. He is on the viola faculties of New England Conservatory and Bowdoin International Music Festival.

About Pianist Gloria Chien

Gloria Chien was named one of the superior pianists of the year by the Boston Globe, whose music reviewer Richard Dyer praised her for “a wondrously rich palette of colors, which she mixes with dashing bravado and with an uncanny precision of calibration…Chien’s performance had it all, and it was fabulous.”

Chien began playing the piano at the age of five in her native Taiwan. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She is a prize winner of the World Piano Competition, Harvard Musical Association Award, and the San Antonio International Piano Competition. Chien holds has a doctor of musical arts, a master’s, and an undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She is an Associate Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Chien is a Steinway Artist.


This concert is the 5th event of the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series’ 97th season, and is part of the Nelson Chamber Music Series. A special reception for members of the Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) will precede the concert; information is available at

The concert by Sophie Shao and Friends will take place on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at 3:00 P.M., in the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Robison Hall. The PASS reception begins at 1:45 P.M. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. 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, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Photo captions:

Cellist Sophie Shao, photo Neda Navaee

Violinist Jennifer Frautschi, photo Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Violist Dimitri Murrath

Pianist Gloria Chien

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