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19-Year-Old Van Cliburn Gold Medal Winner to Perform with RPO

August 24, 2009

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has confirmed that 19-year old Haochen Zhang of China, one of the two 2009 Gold Medal winners of the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will be performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under guest conductor Arild Remmereit on Thursday, November 5 and Saturday, November 7, 2009.  The concert also includes Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Shafer Mahoney’s Sparkle. Single tickets for this and all 2009-10 concerts go on sale Tuesday, September 8 at 10:00 am.

This past June – only four days after celebrating his nineteenth birthday – Mr. Zhang was awarded a Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He also received a cash award, three years of international concert engagements, and a CD recording of his prizewinning performances on the harmonia mundi usa label. Mr. Zhang tied for the Gold Medal with Japan’s Nobuyuki Tsujii; the last time the Van Cliburn competition awarded a tie for the Gold Medal was in 2001.

The youngest participant at the competition, Mr. Zhang already has begun to forge a reputation as a strong, energetic pianist with a sophisticated approach and musical depth far beyond his years.  “Zhang impressed with depth of musical understanding and subtle expressive nuance,” said Dallas Morning News Music Critic Scott Cantrell, who also wrote that the pianist “demonstrated a musical maturity almost unimaginable in one so young.”

Zhang gave his recital debut at the Shanghai Music Hall at the age of five, performing all of Bach’s two-part inventions, as well as sonatas by Haydn and Mozart.  He performed with orchestra at age six, and moved to the United States at 15 to attend the Curtis Institute of Music.  First-prize winner of the 2007 China International Piano Competition, Mr. Zhang has performed with the China National Symphony Orchestra, Krakow State Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and already has concertized throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S.  He also excels at ping pong and enjoys writing poetry.

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