Sophie Shao. Courtesy of Sophie Shao

By Southwester Staff

The Southwest Chamber Players announced their 194th free program, Masterpieces and Adaptations, at Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon, November 26, at 5:00 p.m.   

Featured will be Sophie Shao, cello; Luke Wedge, violin; and Danielle Hahn and David Ehrlich, piano. On the program will be complete readings of Schubert’s Arpeggione and Franck’s violin sonatas (moved, respectively from viola and violin to cello); and evocative movements of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio and Brahms’ G Major violin sonata.

Shao, a versatile visitor from New York, has a lengthy and impressive resume. A native of Houston, Texas, she began playing the cello at age six as a student of Shirley Trepel, then studied at Curtis and Yale, and followed by an apprenticeship with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher career grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, she graduated into a worldwide career as she has traveled around the globe producing performances the New York Times has called “eloquent, powerful” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.” 

In addition to appearing as soloist to critical acclaim throughout the United States, from New York to California, Shao has played for audiences from Lucerne, Switzerland to the BBC Concert Orchestra in the UK to Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and premiered Howard Shore’s cello concerto and Richard Wilson’s “The Cello Has Many Secrets” with the American Symphony. 

While she rates among her great loves the complete Bach Cello Suites and the Beethoven Triple Concerto from the standard repertoire, Shao’s dedication to music of our time leads her to promote the music of little-known composers such as Adolphus Hailstork, Tan Dun, and Shih-Hui Chen, which she performs with her “Sophie Shao and Friends” chamber groups, which have toured from Vermont to Arizona.

Currently, she’s on the faculty of University of Connecticut and plays on a cello made by Honore Derazey in 1855 and once owned by Pablo Casals.

A seasoned performer and arts professional, Danielle DeSwert Hahn has collaborated as a chamber musician and opera pianist throughout the United States and Europe. Formerly principal pianist of the Baltimore and Washington Concert Opera companies, she’s also worked with the Washington National, New Orleans, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Chautauqua, Portland, and Sarasota Opera companies, and plays regularly as a member of the North Carolina Symphony and has recorded with New Music Raleigh. 

Hahn’s latest project, the Living Art Collective Ensemble (LACE), is a fluid group of musicians committed to bridging the gap between the visual and performing arts, and bringing issues of cultural relevance to light within the context of engaging performances. 

Luke Wedge is principal second violinist with the Air Force Strings of the United States Air Force Band. Originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, his Air Force career began in 2003 and he currently serves as music director for the Air Force Strolling Strings. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he received his Master of Music from Northwestern, where his primary instructors included Ben Sayevich, David Perry, and Gerardo Ribiero. He’s performed with the National Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, in concert in Washington, Chicago, Kansas City, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

The Chamber Players, an institution in Southwest DC since 1997, have included 100 dedicated mostly amateur musicians presenting every one of the orchestra’s instruments as well as singers of every voice range, with a broad repertoire emphasizing the works of the great composers of the classical and romantic eras. 

David Ehrlich, the director, learned the piano at the age of six from his father, Richard. Though his life’s work was in the retail business, he never lost touch with performing music as both pianist and singer. Today he polishes his skills annually at a chamber music workshop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he also sojourned in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Lexington, Virginia and Lyndonville, Vermont.  

More information is available at

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