UMSL freshman Sean Hamre

When Grammy Award-winner Sara Sant’Ambrogio takes the Sheldon Concert Hall stage for Cellofest 2010, she’ll be backed by Sean Hamre, a freshman cellist at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Hamre will be one of a dozen cellists from the 2009-2010 St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra to accompany Sant’Ambrogio, the featured soloist. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. May 11.

The performance comes at a busy time for Hamre, who has not declared a major but is leaning toward pre-medical or engineering. He’s juggling a heavy academic load and demanding performance schedule including Cellofest 2010, which takes place during finals week at UMSL. Still, he’s excited to share a stage with several other cellists for a program featuring performances of work by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Wilhelm Fitzenhagen.

“They’re beautiful, intense pieces,” Hamre said. “But we’re also doing some lighthearted pieces. I get to perform as part of a quartet; we’re playing the Super Mario Brothers video game theme song.”

Kurt Baldwin, cellist in the Arianna String Quartet, UMSL’s resident quartet, called Hamre a “very talented cellist” and “excellent student in every way.”

“In addition to his impressive academic accomplishments, Sean was a finalist in our concert competition this year, plays in several chamber music groups and UMSL Orchestra, and is a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra,” Baldwin said. “He is one of the busiest guys in the music department. We are thrilled he elected to come to UMSL for his undergraduate work.”

A St. Louis native and veteran of SLSYO, Cellofest 2010 soloist Sara Sant’Ambrogio went on to perform on Leonard Bernstein’s “Arias and Barcarolles,” which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition. She later co-founded the Eroica Trio. The trio have toured the world, released eight celebrated albums and garnered multiple Grammy nominations.

Catherine Lehr, assistant principal cellist in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, created Cellofest in 2008 to showcase cello and cello repertoire. Tickets for Cellofest 2010 are $5-$10. The Sheldon Concert Hall is at 3648 Washington Blvd. in St. Louis.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz