Heralded as “dazzling” and “displaying his own versatility and exquisite control of his instrument” by Butler Eagle, Young Steinway Artist, Alvin Zhu is recognized internationally for his insightful, engaging, and emotionally penetrative playing. His artistry has led to acclaimed performances throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
A frequent soloist with orchestras, Zhu has given performances of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff concertos with orchestras around the world. His recent collaborations include Mozart's Concerto in C Major K. 467 with Maestro Rossen Milanov and the Chautauqua Symphony, Mozart’s Concerto in d minor K. 466 with Maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony, and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" with the EOS Symphony at the Beijing Concert Hall. Other orchestral collaborations include McGill Symphony in Montreal, Pittsburgh Butler County Symphony, Pittsburgh Civic Symphony, Pittsburgh McKeesport Symphony, Nittany Valley Symphony in Pennsylvania, and CCM Philharmonia in Cincinnati. His upcoming orchestra engagements for 2017-2018 include Rachmaninoff's Second, Tchaikovsky’s First, and Mozart’s Twentieth Concerto with Maestro Yongyan Hu and EOS Symphony Orchestra and Baotou Symphony Orchestra in Shanghai and Mongolia, respectively.
A soloist and chamber musician, Zhu has appeared in Alice Tully Hall and Steinway Hall in New York; Sydney Opera House in Australia; Beijing Concert Hall in China; Palais du Congress in Montreal, Canada; Heinz Hall and the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh; Lincoln Hall in Foxburg, Pennsylvania; Lincoln Park's Performance Art Center in Midland, Pennsylvania; Paul Recital Hall and Morse Recital Hall in the Juilliard School in New York; Fletcher Hall and the Amphitheater in Chautauqua, New York; Sprague Hall in Yale University; and Joan and Irving Harris Hall in Aspen, Colorado.
Aside from conventional venues, he has been invited to perform for the Ceremony and Gala of the International Women's Forum held in Montreal in 2010, the G20 Conference held in Pittsburgh in 2009, and the International Children’s Festivals in China, Europe, and Australia in 2007, 2005, and 2003. Other than appearing live, he has recorded for NPR’s “From the Top” as a featured Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, Pittsburgh’s WQED radio, and Steinway’s SPIRIO™ player-piano catalog.
His solo recitals for various music series include Steinway Piano Series for the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania, Music in Corrales in New Mexico, Music for Mt. Lebanon in Pennsylvania, and Go Foxburg! in Pennsylvania. Recently awarded top prize in the inaugural Patrick W. Price Competition held at the 8th Texas State International Piano Festival, Zhu goes on a 5- city tour through Texas, California, and Illinois with solo recitals at Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, Texas State University, Eureka Chamber Music Series (CA), and Pianoforte Foundation Series (IL).
In addition to a concert career, Zhu has won top prizes in many national competitions throughout the United States. In 2009, he was the first American pianist to be inducted into the “Young Steinway Artists” roster and has the honor of representing Steinway at each of his performance venues.
Before attending the 8th Texas State International Piano Festival this past summer, Zhu has also attended the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Chautauqua Instituition, and Intersection between Jazz and Classical Music Festival on full-tuition scholarships. Notably, Zhu was awarded top prize in both the Solo Piano Competition at Chautauqua Music Festival in 2015, and the Classical Competition at the IbJC Music Festival in 2012.
As an educator, Zhu enjoys coaching young pianists in masterclasses across the world. In 2016, he led two days of masterclasses for six students from the Open College-Conservatory and Liu Shikun Arts School of Foshan, China. Other masterclasses include the Li Delun Foundation and the Steinway Gallery of Toronto, and the Young Artists Program of the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania in 2014. As a Teaching Artist at Yale University School of Music, Zhu has given private, studio, and secondary lessons to undergraduate students. At the Juilliard School, Zhu is currently a Teaching Fellow for graduate Music History and undergraduate Music Theory. This upcoming year, Zhu, a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, will research the musical contributions of his paternal grandfather Gong-Yi Zhu, a master piano pedagogue whose influence in China is still widely felt today. At the end of his year at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Zhu hopes to introduce Gong-Yi’s teachings to the world and finally give due respect to an international figure in music history.
Aside from academics and piano, Zhu enjoys conducting and composition. Having conducted the Juilliard Lab Orchestra in 2014 under the tutelage of Maestro Jeffrey Milarsky, Zhu continues to guest conduct and lead rehearsals with the Pittsburgh Haihua Youth Orchestra. His most recent work, a three-movement sonata for violin and piano entitled Poeme was given its premiere at Juilliard's Paul Recital Hall in December 2012, with violinist, Diomedes Saraza, Jr. Saraza subsequently programmed it for his solo recital at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2014.
Zhu began piano and violin lessons with his parents at the age of four and studied piano with Yeeha Chiu and Marylene Dosse at the age of ten. A graduate of the 5-year BM/MM Accelerated Program with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky at the Juilliard School, Zhu spent one year pursuing an Artist Diploma with Peter Frankl at Yale University’s School of Music. After being awarded the C.V. Starr Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at Juilliard, Zhu returned to New York to pursue the Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of Dr. Kaplinsky and Professor Julian Martin. Over the years, Zhu has participated in masterclasses with Arie Vardi, Gary Graffman, Emanuel Ax, Lang Lang, Muray Perahia, Leon Fleisher, Malcolm Bilson, Robert Levin, Fred Chiu, Jon Nakamatsu, Misha Dichter, Shikun Liu, and David Allen Wehr.