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Biography

Shawn began playing the viola in the 7th grade at the age of 12. He grew up in Bradenton, Florida where he started taking private viola lessons in the 9th grade with Jim Fawcett (previous Associate Principal Violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and later with Leanne Darling of the Florida West Coast Symphony. Shawn earned his Bachelor’s degree in Viola Performance from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) in 2003 from the studio of George Taylor, and returned to Florida to further study with Pamella McConnell at the University of Miami. Shawn has received chamber music coachings from the Julliard Quartet, The Ying Quartet, the Tokyo Quartet, John Graham, Oleh Krysa, Mikael Copelmann, Zvi Zeitlin, Charles Castleman, Alan Harris, and Paul Wolfe.

Currently, Shawn is a member of the Southwest Florida Orchestra, the Venice Symphony, Naples 5th Avenue Chamber Orchestra; serves as principal violist of the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra and the South Shore Symphony; and a substitute player for the Sarasota Orchestra. He has played throughout Southwest Florida in many events such as Governor Charlie Crist's wedding reception, back-up musician for the Motown group “The Commodores” and on many occasions in orchestra’s under the baton of the late Eric Kunzel (from the Cincinnati Pops). In January of 2011, Shawn performed as a back up musician for Barry Manilow’s Florida Tour.

As a soloist, Shawn has recently performed the Telemann Viola Concerto with the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra. In June 2010, Shawn travelled to Budapest, Hungary, Vienna and Eisenstaedt Austria, Bratislava, Slovakia & Prague, Czech Republic as the featured viola soloist performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante as well as the principal violist for performances of Mozart’s Requiem. Performance Venues for this concert included The Liszt Hall (Budapest), The Slovak National Radio Hall (Bratislava), and the Dvorak Hall at the Rudolphinum (Prague).

In the 2010-2011 season Shawn was the featured soloist with many South Florida orchestras, including performances of Weber's Andante and Hungarian Rondo, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, and the World Premiere of the Grayson Viola Concerto.

In 2010, Shawn's debut solo album "Bach's Cello Suites For the Viola, No 1-3" was released internationally, with the follow up CD of Suites No 4-6 to be released by the end of 2012.

Shawn’s instrument is a 17.5 inch Helmuth Keller viola, Circa 1980, previously owned by performer and Professor at the Eastman School of Music, George Taylor.v

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