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Sophie Shao and Friends Return for 10th Consecutive Season

February 28, 2018

New ensemble of friends will perform piano quintets by Dvořák and Bridge

Middlebury, VT— Praised by World News for her “sensitive, stylistic playing, with great finesse, emotion, and gorgeous tone,” cellist Sophie Shao—a perennial Middlebury favorite—has surrounded herself with some of the most talented artists in music. She returns for her 10th consecutive season on the Middlebury Performing Arts Series with an exciting new ensemble of friends, performing works by Haydn, Bridge, and Dvořák at the Mahaney Center for the Arts on February 28.

Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll continues to re-engage Shao, stating, “Sophie Shao and her seemingly endless collective of talented friends have refined the collaborative and impromptu chamber music concert into an exhilarating art form.”

This concert is part of the Nelson Chamber Music Series, an important program within the Middlebury Performing Arts Series, with support from PASS members Marny and Rob Lichtenstein.


About the Artists

Woman wrapped in black fabric standing with a celloCellist 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 noted as “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.”

A native of Houston, Texas, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age six. At age thirteen she enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and upon graduation went on to earn a B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale College and an M.M. from the Yale School of Music. She is on the faculty of Vassar College and the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and she will join the faculty of Mason-Gross Rutgers in Fall 2018. She plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey in 1855 that was once owned by Pablo Casals.

Shao has appeared as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States. Last season she performed the UK premiere of Howard Shore’s concerto “Mythic Gardens” with Keith Lockhart and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Watford Colosseum in Watford, England and with Ludwig Wicki and the 21st Century Orchestra at the KKL in Lucerne, Switzerland.Woman in a yellow dress sitting next to a cello

Ms. Shao’s dedication to chamber music has conceived her popular “Sophie Shao and Friends” groups which have toured the United States. This year’s friends will include violinists Nikki Chooi, who begins his appointment as concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra this season, and Carmit Zori, artistic director of the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society. Middlebury audiences will be excited to welcome back the exceptional violist Paul Neubauer. And rounding out this excellent ensemble will be one of the most sought-after pianists in his generation of young American musicians, Orion Weiss.

“Impassioned, even transporting, but with a clear-eyed intelligence” ­—Washington Post


Performance Details

Sophie Shao and Friends will perform on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 7:30 P.M. at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Robison Hall. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south, on the campus of Middlebury College. 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 $30 for adults; $25 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, emeriti, and alumni; $10 for youth 18 and under (NEW youth ticket price!); and $6 for Middlebury College students, and are on sale at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or




Image captions: Sophie Shao’s 10th Consecutive Season at the Mahaney Center for the Arts February 28. Photos by Neda Navaee

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