Piano Quartet

Renowned Curtis alumni violinist Shanshan Yao (’08), violist Haesue Lee (’21), cellist Jean Kim (’18), and pianist Pallavi Mahidhara (’10) will embark on a tour of Europe in the spring of 2024. This exciting concert features Indian American composer Reena Esmail’s lush, romantic trio for violin, cello, and piano, Saans, inspired by the Franck Violin Sonata, and the wedding of dear friends, alongside Felix Mendelssohn’s first published composition, the charming Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor. The concert concludes with Antonín Dvořák’s ingenious Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, a bold, colorful work of tremendous beauty that flits between dark and light, the elegance of the Viennese classical style, and the folky playfulness of a ländler waltz.


Thursday, May 16 at 8:15 p.m.
Waterloo, Belgium
Presented by Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel

Friday, May 24 at 8:30 p.m.
Vilagarcía de Arousa, Spain
Presented by Sociedad Filarmónica de Vilagarcía

Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Madrid, Spain
Presented by Fundación Excelentia

Thursday, May 30
Potsdam, Germany
Private Performance

Friday, May 31 at 8 p.m.
Berlin, Germany
Presented in collaboration with Bard College Berlin

Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Paris, France
Presented by The Arts Arena

Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Munich, Germany
Presented by Nymphenburger Sommer

Sunday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Bremen, Germany
Presented by Philharmonische Gesellschaft Bremen


  • Shanshan Yao (’08), violin

    Shanshan Yao enjoys a multifaceted career as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral player. She currently plays with the Kammerakademie Potsdam in Germany and is a member of the Rosamunde String Quartet. She was previously a tenured member of the first violin section in the New York Philharmonic and in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared as a guest with the Chicago Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic.

    Shanshan made her concerto debut at age 12 with the Shanghai Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra. She has performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (led by music director Manfred Honeck), Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and the Banff Chamber Orchestra. She won top prizes at the Corpus Christi International Competition, Hellam Young Artists Competition, Calgary Concerto Competition, and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand.

    A passionate chamber musician, Shanshan has participated in the Aspen, Summit, and Sarasota music festivals; Music from Angel Fire; The Banff Centre; and Music@Menlo, where she also served as a chamber music coach. Born in Huainan, China, Shanshan began playing violin at age six and enrolled at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music when she was 9. She continued her studies in Canada at Mount Royal Conservatory under the tutelage of William van der Sloot and Xiaoming Wu. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Her principal teachers were Aaron Rosand, Donald Weilerstein, and Ronald Copes.

    Shanshan serves on the faculty and advisory council of the Morningside Music Bridge program in Boston. She lives in Berlin, Germany, with her husband and young son.

  • Haesue Lee (’21), viola

    Violist Haesue Lee is the first prize and audience prize winner of the 2023 ARD Competition and the 2018 Primrose International Viola Competition. Haesue’s accomplishments as a solo violist include the 2015 Johansen International Competition, the 2014 Albert M. Greenfield Competition, 2013 Great Mountains Music Festival Concerto Competition, the New York International Music Competition, and the 2010 Alex & Buono International String Competition.

    Following her Carnegie Hall debut at age twelve, she has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Prince George’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Ensemble 212. Haesue has also given solo recitals at the Brigham Young University, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, Kumho Prodigy Solo Concert, and the Korean Culture Center in Paris, France.

    Haesue’s greatest inspiration comes from music-making with other musicians. As a passionate chamber musician, Haesue was invited to the Korean Presidential “BlueHouse,” Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, and the Bridgehampton Music Festival. During the 22/23 season, Haesue was on tour in prestigious venues in Europe, representing the Curtis Institute of Music. She has shared the stage with many distinguished artists such as Tabea Zimmermann, Nobuko Imai, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Lynn Harrell, Marcy Rosen, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, and Marina Piccinini.

    Haesue graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Hsin-Yun Huang and Roberto Díaz. She received her master’s degree with Tabea Zimmermann at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and is continuing her studies with Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy. These studies are funded by the Ono Patronage.

  • Jean Kim (’18), cello

    Jean Kim has performed extensively throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician, and principal orchestral cellist. She has been invited to perform in prestigious venues such as Berliner Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Wiener Konzerthaus, and Royal Festival Hall. She has won prizes at the 2013 Johansen International Competition and the 2018 Irving M. Klein International Competition and was named a 2013 YoungArts Finalist.

    As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with renowned artists, including Pamela Frank, Jason Vieaux, Michael Rusinek, Leon McCawley, and Roberto Dìaz, among others. As a part of the Curtis on Tour initiative, Jean performed throughout Athens, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai in 2016. She has participated in festivals such as Banff Centre, MusicAlp, Centre d’Arts Orford, Great Mountains Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Fondazione Accademia Chigiana, and Weimar Meisturkurse, where she performed in masterclasses with Lawrence Lesser, Gary Hoffman, David Geringas, Jens Peter Maintz, Jian Wang, David Finckel, Philippe Muller, Sung-Won Yang, Antonio Meneses, and Aldo Parisot.

    As an orchestral player, she has served as guest principal cellist for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and went on tour with them throughout Germany and Spain during the 2019/20 season. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and served as principal cellist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra during the 2017/18 season. A native of Sleepy Hollow, NY, she began playing the cello at age 5 with Vladimir Morgovsky. She entered the Juilliard Pre-College Division three years later to study with Minhye Clara Kim. As the Mark E. Rubenstein Annual Fellow, she graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music with a bachelor’s degree, where she studied with Carter Brey and Peter Wiley

  • Pallavi Mahidhara (’10), piano

    Indian American pianist Pallavi Mahidhara made her orchestral debut at age 10, performing at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. She is the Second Prize winner and Young Audience Award winner of the 69th Geneva International Piano Competition and the VI International Prokofiev Competition in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

    She has appeared in solo and orchestral concerts across five continents and has performed at important festivals such as the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Marlboro Music, and Verbier Festival. She regularly performs chamber music with renowned artists such as Gary Hoffman, Diemut Poppen, István Várdai, Pablo Ferrández, Josef Spacek, and Theo Fouchennert. Pallavi was selected by Sir András Schiff for his concert series, Building Bridges, a platform to support and promote young pianists. The Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Essen released a live performance recording of her recital from October 2021, available on Spotify.

    She received her bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and her master’s degree From the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. She studied for several years with Dimitri Bashkirov at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía. Aside from her private studio, Pallavi is the Artistic Advisor and a Piano Professor for the Young Artists Program at the Reina Sofia School in Madrid, Spain. She is regularly invited to teach for Curtis’s Mentor Alumni Program. She is the Executive Producer, Writer, and Host of “The Conscious Artist,” a new
    podcast designed to promote Mental Health Awareness for musicians, artists, and all human beings.


REENA ESMAIL (*1983): Saans (for violin, cello, and piano)

MENDELSSOHN Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1


DVOŘÁK Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 87

Subject to change.


View selections from previous touring ensembles


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