Faculty & Staff

Philippe Chao


Adjunct Applied Faculty 
  • Viola
  • B.A., University of Minnesota
  • M.M., University of Southern California

Violist Philippe Chao is a tenured member of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. In addition, he performs as Principal Violist with the cutting-edge Post-Classical Ensemble and as an extra musician with the National and Baltimore Symphonies. Previously, Philippe held the posts of Assistant Principal Violist for the Virginia Symphony and the Eastern Philharmonic and Principal Violist for the National Repertory Orchestra. In 1994, he was selected to be a member of the singular Solti Orchestral Project at Carnegie Hall, the concerts of which were recorded and released on the London/Decca label.

An avid and experienced chamber musician, he has performed throughout the Washington DC region with numerous organizations including )musica(aperta, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the Ibis Chamber Music Society, the Chamber Music Series at the United States Holocaust Museum, the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage, and the Czech and Ukrainian Embassies’ series. His involvement with )musica(aperta brought him on tour to San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Miami, and Boston under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. Other appearances have included performances at the Garth Newell Music Center, Music Mountain, and Oxford University, UK with the Coull String Quartet.

As part of the Cappelletti-Chao Duo, Philippe and his wife, violinist Eva Cappelletti have performed throughout the country in a variety of venues from concert halls to music festivals to salon concert series’ and have appeared on live radio. Their decade-long collaboration has resulted in several works having being written specially for them, including Divertimento by the renowned American composer, Adolphus Hailstork. As a concerto soloist, Philippe has appeared with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Eastern Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Symphony, the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and the George Mason University String Orchestra. Concerto-competition victories earned him performances with both the University of Minnesota Chamber Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra.

Philippe is a Professor of Viola at George Mason University School of Music and has been a coach for the DC Youth Orchestra Program and a faculty member of the Hampton Roads Academy, the American Festival for the Arts, and the Eastern Music Festival. He was a guest artist-teacher for the State Department’s Artist Exchange Program at the Kennedy Center in 2007 and since 2011, a faculty member of the Ovations Summer String Academy. Earning degrees from the University of Minnesota and the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Mr. Chao also studied at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeborough, England and at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

His mentors include renowned pedagogues Roland and Almita Vamos, the Boston Symphony’s Michael Zaretsky, international recording artist and soloist Gérard Caussé, William Primrose protegé Donald McInnes, and the Cleveland Orchestra’s Principal Violist, Robert Vernon.

Contact Prof. Chao:  pchao@gmu.edu