Praised by The New York Times for her “eloquent, powerful” playing, cellist Sophie Shao was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Grant at age 19, and has since performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. Shao is joined by Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute.
Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
Adagio and Allegro in A-flat Major, Op. 70
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Sonata in E minor, Op. 38
Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
Sonata in A Major Op. 69, No. 3
At the age of nineteen, cellist Sophie Shao received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and has since performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winner of top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, The New York Times has applauded her “eloquent, powerful” interpretations of repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Crumb.
Shao recently collaborated with film composer Howard Shore resulting in a commission of Great Gardens – a concerto written for her that was premiered with the American Symphony Orchestra in April 2012. In 2012/2013, she appeared as soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Keith Lockhart in performances of the Elgar and Shostakovich concerti on a two-week tour of the west coast. Recent performances include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony, Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Cho-Liang Lin in Indianapolis, the world-premiere of Richard Wilson’s Concerto for cello and mezzo-soprano with the American Symphony Orchestra, and recital and chamber music appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and Music Mountain (with the Shanghai Quartet). Shao is also a frequent guest at many leading festivals around the country including Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Bard Festival, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
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 thirteen 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 her bachelors in Religious Studies from Yale College and an masters in music 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 Honore Derazey from 1860 once owned by Pablo Casals.
Known for her deep musical and emotional commitment to a wide range of repertoire, Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute performs regularly for audiences in the U.S. and Europe. Her ability to communicate the essential substance of a work has led critics to describe her as possessing “razor-sharp intelligence and wit” (The Washington Post) and as “elegant and engaging” (The Wall Street Journal). In 2006, she was honored as a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.
In late 2010, Labor Records released Jokubaviciute's Alban Berg Tribute recording comprising Berg's piano sonata and previously unknown or unrecorded works written in tribute to Berg by Giacinto Scelsi, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Ross Lee Finney, Jacob Gilboa, and Hans Erich Apostel. London's Sunday Times called it a “very interestingly devised debut disc,” and The New York Times lauded it and described Jokubaviciute as "an artist of commanding technique, refined temperament, and persuasive insight" and as "an authoritative and compelling guide throughout this fascinating disc."
With a reputation for presenting masterful and insightful programs, Jokubaviciute regularly gives recitals in major American and European cities, for the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago, at Caspary Hall in New York, in Vilnius, Lithuania, and at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she performed a program in conjunction with an exhibition on the 19th-century American painter James McNeil Whistler. The Washington Post called her a “splendid colorist” and described her performance as “magical tone-painting.”
Jokubaviciute made her Chicago Symphony debut at the Ravinia Festival in June of 2005 under the baton of James Conlon and her orchestral debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, performing Mozart’s K. 488 under the baton of Ligia Amadio the following season. She has also performed concerti with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Graz University Orchestra, and the Lithuanian National Symphony.
Jokubaviciute's chamber music endeavors have brought her to major stages around the world such as Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, and on national tours with Musicians from Marlboro. Jokubaviciute has appeared as a guest artist in chamber music performances on National Public Radio's Performance Today, with musicians from the New York Philharmonic at Merkin Hall, and with Boston Symphony musicians at Tanglewood.
For five years, Jokubaviciute served on the faculty of the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival as a Collaborative Pianist. She has earned degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and from Mannes College of Music, where her principal teachers were Seymour Lipkin and Richard Goode.
Sophie Shao and Ieva Jokubaviciute perform Beethoven's 12 Variations on Handel's See the Conqu'ring Hero Comes.