'It's really vibrant': Award-winning cellist calls the Bronx home

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RIVERDALE -

Sophie Shao is a talented cellist from Texas who has been all over the world, but has chosen the Bronx as her new home.

Shao picked up playing the cello as a kid and has made it her living. She's won the prestigious Avery Fisher Grant and top prizes at many competition. She has performed all over the world -- from Vermont to the Lincoln Center, and from Switzerland to England.

Shao now teaches at the University of Connecticut.

A year and a half ago, she chose Riverdale over Inwood in Manhattan, all thanks to a friend's suggestion.

"It just really feels like a community and not a free-for-all like Manhattan," says Shao.

Shao has found her way to the Bronx Arts Ensemble, performing with the group and finding more connections with other musicians.

"It's a small world and it's lovely. A lot of musicians move up here and it's really vibrant," she says.

Shao's future goals are to continue building relationships with composers and continuing to succeed in the Bronx.

"Follow your heart, because there are so many things you can do ... never give up on those dreams," says Shao.

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