Shapiro said she had known Olsen from when he was between the ages of 10 and 11 and that he had come to her house because he was accompanying her husband to a recital.
"I said, 'This kid is good.' He was young and he was good," she said.
While Olsen was not available for further comment, Shapiro said the young cellist became part of the Empire Youth Orchestra in the mid-'90s and that he eventually left the orchestra, after more than four years, to play in the New England Conservatory.
"It's not common," she said. "But it's not uncommon for our really skilled [performers.]"
After graduating from Colonie Central High School, Olsen attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, according to Shapiro. Shapiro also said she thinks that Olsen's graduate school years may have been the time that he was living out of a suitcase.
Shapiro has not seen Olsen for a number of years, but was very pleased to hear of his new position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "We are very proud of him," she said.
Shapiro explained that as assistant principal, Olsen must be prepared to take over as the lead cellist in the orchestra should the principal fall ill, or not be able to attend a concert. But according to her, Olsen has experience as the principal, as he has played the role in a number of concerts, she said.
Olsen will be making a return to the Capital District and performing with the Albany Symphony on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Tickets range from $25 to $49 and are $15 for students. To purchase a ticket, call Troy Savings Bank Music Hall at 273-0038.
Olsen will also be visiting his alma mater, Colonie Central High School, on Wednesday, Nov. 12.""