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Jia Cao was appointed to the principle cello of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in 2015. Born in Shanghai, China to a musical family, she began cello lessons at age four with her grandmother, Yishan Qian, who was Pablo Casals’s only student from China. She continued her musical education at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and came to the United States in 2005.
Ms. Cao made her solo debut with the Youth Orchestra of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2005, performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto at the concert celebrating cultural exchange between Germany and China. In the U.S., she made her solo appearances with the Albany Symphony and American Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Cao was awarded the silver medal at the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in South Bend, Indiana. Her quartet, the Chimeng String Quartet, was featured in a chamber music concert at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. The quartet made its European debut at the Young Artist Program of the Incontri in the Terra di Siena Festival in 2011. During 2011to 2014, Ms. Cao performed as a member of the Grammy-nominated group – Yale Cellos, led by the legendary cello pedagogue Aldo Parisot.
Other festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Bard Music Festival, the Banff Master Class Program, the Rhinebeck Chamber Music Society, and the Morningside Music Bridge in Calgary, Canada.
Ms. Cao received her B.M. and B.A. from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and her M.M., and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. Her teachers include Aldo Parisot, Peter Wiley and Sophie Shao. Ms. Cao has had the privilege of working with many other outstanding musicians, including Ida Kavafian, Ani Kavafian, Peter Frankl, and Claude Frank.