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Biography of Sando Shia
Sando Shia was born into a musical family in Wuhan China. Her father was a prominent professor of brass instruments and a well-known composer, and her mother was a chorus member with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra. Sando began piano lessons at the age of four and violin lessons at age five. She entered the Central Conservatory in Beijing when she was only twelve. While still in her early teens, Sando gave performances of concertos by Paganini, Bruch, and Wieniawski. After graduation from the conservatory, Sando joined the Central Ballet Company of China in Beijing as solo violinist and toured extensively in China and Europe with that company. Sando came to United States in 1980 at the invitation of Kent State University, where she lectured on and performed violin compositions of both China and the West. The following year, she won the Josef Gingold Award at the Ken/Blossom Music Festival.
In 1981, she was awarded a full scholarship for study with Jascha Heifetz at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. In his recommendation letter, Heifetz described her as "an extremely talented musician with exceptional ability; she was very important to my class." Sando studied with Heifetz for four years. During that time, she also performed as soloist and in chamber music in the Los Angeles area, including Vivaldi's Four Seasons and a rare performance of Mozart's Duo with Heifetz which he played the violin and she performed viola.
Before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1989 at the invitation of Sir George Solti, Sando held positions as Assistant Principal second violin of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.