Pianist Re Zhang performed at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series on May 17, 2017. Currently a student at the Peabody Conservatory, Zhang is originally from Beijing, China, and received her Bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory.
Zhang's performance at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert included works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Read Picture this Post's conversation with Zhang below.
What were your first musical experiences?
I started to play the piano when I was five. My parents are not musicians but they love music.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Baoding, China. I went to elementary school in Shanghai and middle school in Beijing.
Please tell our readers about your family.
Both of my parents are teachers. My father is a college professor – he teaches law.
What have been the major milestones in your career?
I am really lucky to be a winner in several competitions, including the International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Holland, New Orleans Piano Competition, and others. I also did the Piano Honors project at Oberlin Conservatory where I got my Bachelor's degree. The project involved performing and recording Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations which is often considered to be one of the greatest and longest sets of variations for keyboard.
When did you decide to become a professional musician?
I decided to be a professional musician when I was around 10 years old. So I went through a really tough entrance exam to get into the elementary school affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the middle school of Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. I love music.
Besides music, what are your main interests?
I love reading... I love Shakespeare, Tolstoy and some old Chinese authors. I love reading Chinese poetry and American modern poetry, like Robert Frost and T.S. Elliot. I love going to museums practicing calligraphy.
Please tell our readers about the program you chose for your Dame Myra Hess performance.
The first piece that I will play is a small set of variations by Beethoven. The innovation for this piece is that each of the six variations is in a different key and the theme is original.
The second work that I will play is a set of Etudes by Rachmaninoff. There are eight of them. For me, every one of them is like a picture – there is one about the snow storm, there is one about the fair. Quite opposite from the Beethoven variations, which are truly Romantic works with expressive melody lines and various tone colors.