Bartholomew Fortino-Shields enjoys sharing the joy of music with all people. Recent concert engagements included recitals in Rome, Pinerolo-Torino Italy, and Oley, Pennsylvania. Upcoming engagements include a recital at the 4-Star Hotel Terme Rosapepe in Contursi, Italy, and recitals in Baltimore Maryland, Reading and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this August. He recently completed a recording project of works by Bartok and Schubert with pianist, Stefano Musso. Mr. Fortino-Shields will be recording works by Brahms, Franck and Beach, with pianist Chan Mi Jean later in 2024 on the Sheva Label in London, England. Their debut album will be available in the BBC Music Magazine, Naxos Music Library and online at

He was a recipient of the 2017 Garth Newel Music Center’s Emerging Artist Fellowship Program. Garth Newel Music Center is an international chamber music venue, home of the Garth Newel Piano Quartet, in Hot Springs, Virginia. Click to watch “In A Day’s Drive: Garth Newel’s Emerging Artist Fellowship” to learn more:

Bartholomew’s career took him also to festivals such as: Bowdoin International, Meadowmount School of Music, Brevard Music Center, Philadelphia International and the MasterWorks Festival.

Chamber music has always been a highlight for him. He started playing string quartets at 10 years old in elementary school for public art shows. 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, and Arlen Hlusko.  In 2017-2018, Bartholomew was appointed as the violinist of the Perlman Piano Trio, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Perlman Piano Trio is an auditioned, scholarship awarded piano trio.

Mr. Fortino-Shields is very grateful for his time studying violin with world renowned violinist Sally Thomas, of the Juilliard School. He took a bus once a week throughout high school from Pennsylvania, to New York City to study with her. Bartholomew woke up early and would take his online school work with him, completing assignments while traveling 2.5 hours to New York City – one way. When he got to the NYC Port Authority, he took a subway to the Upper West Side of Manhattan arriving at Ms. Thomas’ apartment. These trips and lessons transported him out of the small town of Pennsylvania that he always knew, and gave him the opportunity to be around Juilliard violin students. Through this environment in NYC, and Ms. Thomas’ ceaseless mentoring, he realized how much potential students can have in reaching a high caliber of excellence.

Other notable teachers include Kenneth Sarch, Kurt Nikkanen, Elizabeth Larson, Carolyn Huebl, Janet Sung, Soh-Hyun Park Altino and Judith Ingolfsson. Bartholomew has also played in masterclasses for Elena Urioste and Ann Setzer in the past.

Mr. Fortino-Shields has received numerous awards for his violin playing. He won first prize in the intermediate division of the Beethoven Club’s 2015 Young Artist Competition in Memphis, TN. In 2014, he received the Helen T. Carp Distinguished Service Award from the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute, in recognition of five years of outstanding and dedicated service to the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, in which he was principal second violinist for two years. In 2013, he soloed with the Reading Symphony Orchestra playing the Conus Violin Concerto, as a prize winner of the Reading Symphony Orchestra League Competition. He was the first prize winner in the 2012 Allentown Symphony Voorhees Concerto Competition, winning with the Barber Violin Concerto, where he was invited back for two solo performances at Symphony Hall, in Allentown, PA. In addition, the Reading Musical Foundation awarded Bartholomew the Katherine N. Quartner/Rita Quartner Herman Scholarship, Atonement Bach Scholarship, and the Elaine Bausher Post College Scholarship.

Mr. Fortino-Shields has many fond memories studying violin in Philadelphia and being highly influenced as a member in the Philadelphia Young Artist Orchestra and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, of the PYO Music Institute. PYO Music Institute gave Bartholomew many opportunities to work side by side with the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He was privileged to participate in monthly masterclasses at the Curtis Institute, where he worked with William Polk and William de Pasquale. In addition, he performed regularly in Verizon Hall and Perelman Theatre at the Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

Bartholomew Fortino-Shields was born in Reading Pennsylvania to an Italian family, who came from Modica Ragusa, Sicily, Atessa Chieti, Laurenzana Potenza, Napoli and Calabria, Italy. He began playing the violin at the age of 8 years old. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a scholarship recipient, where he studied under Soh-Hyun Park Altino, 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. Currently, Mr. Fortino-Shields is completing an Advanced Specialization course in violin repertoire at Accademia di Musica di Pinerolo with Sonig Tchakerian.

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.

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