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Liza Sacheli

Cellist Sophie Shao and Friends Kick Off 100th Anniversary Season

September 4, 2019

Concert by Middlebury Audience Favorite Will Open the Performing Arts Series' Centennial Season

a female musician holds her cello case in front of a gray wallMiddlebury, VT—The Middlebury Performing Arts Series’ 100th anniversary season opens on Friday, September 20 with perennial Middlebury favorite, cellist Sophie Shao. Applauded by the New York Times for her “eloquent, powerful” interpretations, Shao has a gift for assembling impromptu chamber ensembles that are brimming with passion and talent. This season, she’s joined by violinists Jennifer Frautschi and Zachary DePue, violists Paul Neubauer and Che-Yen Chen, and cellist Fred Sherry for a program including Brahms’s Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major, selected Consorts for Six Viols by Orlando Gibbons, and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. The audience is invited to enjoy a season-opening reception after the concert.

Performing Arts Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll has worked closely with Shao on every one of her annual performances. “Sophie’s collaborative spirit and vision have been treasured over the years, and her partnership with our series will prove integral as we look towards our second century.”


About the Artists

a female cellist in a red dress playing her instrumentCellist Sophie Shao received an Avery Fisher Career Grant at age 19, was a major prizewinner at the 2001 Rostropovich Competition, and a laureate of the XII Tchaikovsky Competition in 2002. She has given the world premiere performances of Howard Shore’s Mythic Gardens—a concerto written for her—and Richard Wilson’s Concerto for Cello and Mezzo-Soprano with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Keith Lockhart, presented the six Bach Suites in one afternoon at Union College, and has made recital and chamber music appearances with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Northwest. In 2017, Shao released a double-CD set of the Bach Cello Suites. Shao studied at The Curtis Institute and at Yale University, receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Yale College and a Master’s of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. She is on the faculty at the University of Connecticut.

Throughout, her performance was confident, soulful and both her sound and her stage presence spoke of an artist who is one with the music.—LA Opus


An Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, violinist Jennifer Frautschi has garnered worldwide acclaim as an adventurous musician with a remarkably wide-ranging repertoire. Highlights of her past season include performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Tucson and Phoenix Symphonies, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and music festivals including Ojai, La Jolla, and Bridgehampton. Her discography includes two Grammy-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet. Born in Pasadena, California, Frautschi attended the Colburn School, Harvard, NEC, and Juilliard.

Zachary DePue, first violinist with the Indianapolis Quartet, became one of the youngest concertmasters in the country when he was appointed to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2007. He is a former member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was a founding member of Time for Three, with whom he toured and gave high-profile appearances, including a performance on the 2014 semifinal round of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. DePue graduated in 2002 from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he served as concertmaster of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Taiwanese-American violist Che-Yen Chen is a founding member of the award winning Formosa Quartet. In 2003 he earned First Prize in the Primrose International Viola Competition. He served as the principal violist of the San Diego Symphony for eight seasons, and as principal violist with numerous major orchestras in North America. An alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), he is currently on the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music and has given master classes in major conservatories and universities across North America and Asia.

Violist Paul Neubauer made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the U.S. premiere of a newly discovered Shostakovich work with pianist and Performing Arts Series alumna Wu Han. Neubauer was appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, and has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the English Chamber Orchestra. He has an extensive discography and is a two-time Grammy nominee. He is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College, as well as a Visiting Professor at DePaul University.

Cellist Fred Sherry was a founding member of TASHI and Speculum Musicae, Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and has been a member of the Group for Contemporary Music, Berio’s Juilliard Ensemble, and the Galimir String Quartet. He has also enjoyed a close collaboration with jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea. Sherry was the organizer for Robert Craft’s New York recording sessions from 1995–2012. He is a member of the cello faculty of The Juilliard School, the Mannes College of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music, and is the Director of the Contemporary Performance Institute at the Composers Conference.


Performance Details

The Performing Arts Series' yellow and blue triangular logo with the number 100Sophie Shao and Friends will perform at the Mahaney Arts Center’s Robison Hall on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 7:30 P.M. The concert will be followed by a free reception celebrating the kickoff of the Performing Arts Series’ 100th anniversary year. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 South/S. Main Street. Parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Arts Center parking lot. Reserved seating tickets are $30 for adults; $25 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, emeriti, and alumni; $10 for youth; and $6 for Middlebury College students; and are on sale at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or




(top right, top center) Cellist Sophie Shao will perform at the Mahaney Arts Center September 20. Photo Neda Navaee

(bottom right) Cellist Sophie Shao will perform at the Mahaney Arts Center September 20. Photo Aaron Kimball

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