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Grammy Award-winning cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio returns to perform with LCSO

Leora Zeitlin

It was in a shoe store that Sara Sant’Ambrogio’s destiny as a cellist emerged. She had begged her parents for a cello, but they thought she was too small. Then the five-year-old went to get her first pair of school shoes, and discovered her feet were bigger than her older sister’s, Sant’Ambrogio told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin. When her mother told her father, he said, “'Really, hold your hands out,' and I held my hands out and he realized how massive my hands were – they looked like ET – and the next day, I got a cello. And I was so happy.”

Sant’Ambrogio studied with her father and continued at the Curtis Institute of Music, before she went on to win the 8th Tchaikovsky Cello Competition (and numerous other competitions), helped found the acclaimed Eroica Trio, and built an international career in which she has performed with some of the most prestigious orchestras in the world. This weekend, she performs two concerts with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Lonnie Klein. They will perform the Haydn Cello Concerto in C, a work that was lost for 200 years before being discovered in a castle in Prague in 1961, and her own arrangement of two beloved works by Astor Piazzolla, “Oblivion” and “Libertango.” The concerts take place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall.

Sant’Ambrogio is one of four generations of her family to perform in Carnegie Hall, and she is dedicated to using new technologies to bring classical music to more people. “Classical music is one of the great tools in our arsenal as human beings to achieve joy, serenity, happiness, and peace,” she said.

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