Bartholomew Shields

Bartholomew Fortino-Shields is an Italian-American violinist, who was born in Reading
Pennsylvania, USA to an Italian family, who came from Modica Ragusa, Sicily, Atessa Chieti, Laurenzana Potenza, Napoli and Calabria. He began playing the violin at the age of 8 years old.
Bartholomew is currently based in Rome and is completing an Advanced Specialization course in Violin Performance at Accademia di Musica di Pinerolo with Sonig Tchakerian. Throughout high school he studied with Sally Thomas, of the Juilliard School in New York City. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, as a scholarship recipient, where he studied under Soh-Hyun Park Altino, former teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein. In May 2022, Bartholomew completed his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a scholarship recipient of the Artistic Excellence Award, studying under Judith Ingolfsson.
He has been a recipient of numerous awards from the Reading Musical Foundation, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute, Allentown Symphony, Reading Symphony, Beethoven Club of Memphis, Perlman Piano Trio and the Garth Newel Music Center, and has performed at Bowdoin International, Meadowmount School of Music, Brevard Music Center, Philadelphia International and the MasterWorks Festival. Chamber music has always been a reward for him in his violin career. He started playing string quartets at the age of 10. This led to many years of advanced study with members of the Jupiter, Ceruti, Pro Arte, and Parker String Quartets, as well as the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and Maria Lambros and Seth Knopp of the Yellow Barn Music Festival.
He has performed with musicians such as Aisslinn Nosky, Teresa Ling, Evelyn Grau, Isaac Melamed, Judith Ingolfsson, Marcin Arendt, Marian Hahn, Gregory Lewis, Grace Takeda, Arlen Hlusko and members of the Vilacello String and Piano Festival. In 2017-2018, Bartholomew was appointed as the violinist of the Perlman Piano Trio, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a soloist with the Reading Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and was the first prize winner of the 2012 Allentown Symphony Voorhees Concerto Competition.
Mr. Fortino-Shields has a wide range of teaching experience with beginners, intermediate, to very advanced students who have come from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Africa, and all throughout the United States. He was a teaching assistant at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University pre-college program from 2020 – 2021. He was also featured on Rob Landes’ Youtube channel. Mr. Fortino-Shields taught at the Reading Symphony Junior String Orchestra Academy in Reading, Pennsylvania in 2022, and was a Teaching Artist with Play on Philly in the spring of 2023. He has a strong private violin studio of in person and online students.
Bartholomew is the founder and artistic director of the Vilacello String and Piano Festival, held each summer in the United States and Europe. The Vilacello String and Piano Festival is a personalized violin, viola, cello and piano solo and chamber music program for students ages 10 – 25. Students get to study one on one and perform with faculty members who are graduates of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Colburn School, Yale University, Eastman School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, Northwestern University, Rice University, and Indiana University.

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