World-renowned cellist kicks off Steamboat symphony season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sara Sant’Ambrogio thinks of concerts as an intimate party.
“An intimate party, where I am the host,” she said. “I want everyone in the audience to leave feeling that all their senses have been touched and all their emotions have been thrilled.”
The world-renowned musician, whose father John Sant’Ambrogio is a Steamboat resident and accomplished cellist, will perform mostly solo pieces during the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra’s opening celebration and fundraiser taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Chief Theater.
At the concert she will be performing music by Bach and Spanish composer Gaspar Cassado.
“I guarantee the audience will never have heard anything like it,” she said. “It’s totally haunting and emotional and sounds like there are three cellos and a chorus on stage. People have been going crazy over this piece, and it is very hard to bear it without feeling changed by it.”
Sant’Ambrogio will return to Steamboat on Sept. 15 and 16 to perform “Shostakovich Inspires” featuring Antonín Dvorak’s cello concerto, a popular cello concerto, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich’s fifth symphony, which is considered by many to be his most popular symphony.
Sant’Ambrogio is an American cellist who most likely can’t remember life before performing.
According to her bio, she auditioned at 16 for the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was accepted. She then went on to the Juilliard School in New York City to study with Leonard Rose, who had been her father’s teacher years before.
“Music expresses the inexpressible,” Sant’Ambrosio said. “It has this magic transformational ability to turn any pain or sadness into something beautiful and life affirming.”
The cello, she said, gave her a voice when she was unable to speak for herself.
“There is a very deep sense of healing when you have a group of people all together experiencing the emotions of the composer transmuted through the emotions of the performer and received through the prism of the emotions and life experiences of the audience,” Sant’Ambrosio said. “In today’s society, we don’t get a chance to do that very often, and it can be an extraordinary experience.”
For those who balk at the thought of sitting through a classical concert due to no knowledge of Bach or Beethoven, fear not.
“You don’t need to know anything about classical music to immediately get into and enjoy this music,” Sant’Ambrosio said. “I will be talking about the music and the journey we are taking together throughout the performance and this provides a door into the experience.”
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.