bio | long

Pianist Andrew Zhou has been noted for his “remarkable suppleness,” “great sensitivity,” and luminous technique” (Anaclase), as well as performances of “extraordinary energy” (ResMusica).  He was second-prize winner and major laureate of four special prizes at the Concours International de Piano d’Orléans, the most distinguished and demanding competition devoted to contemporary music.  As a recitalist, he strives consistently for thoughtful, thought-provoking, and adventurous programming that juxtaposes the canonized and the contemporary.  He has worked closely with composers such as Unsuk Chin, Tod Machover, Tristan Murail, Roberto Sierra, Christopher Stark, Christian Wolff, and Walter Zimmermann, as well as countless composers from a younger generation.

Highlights include working closely with Chin as a soloist in the Austrian premiere of her Double Concerto for prepared piano and percussion under Bradley Lubman, with Machover on the premiere of Re-Structures for two pianos and electronics, and performing Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie under David Robertson.  He was a returning member of the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he collaborated with the “Young” program and took part in the Boulez “Notations” response project with children from local schools.  In addition, he has toured the Centre région of France in a series of recitals, concert talks, and masterclasses to young children and talented pre-university students.  He has appeared as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Centre d’arts Orford, and the Holland Music Sessions.  Performances and recitals have been broadcast on WQXR, France Musique, and SRF2 (Switzerland).

His album, “Vienne et après” (Tessitures), contains works by Schoenberg, Lachenmann, Stockhausen, Zimmermann, Matthias Pintscher, and Olga Neuwirth, with works by the last two receiving their first studio recordings.  (Here, his quickly eroding knowledge of Zulu, which he learned in college, served him well in the Stockhausen.)

Andrew studied with Bruce Brubaker at New England Conservatory, where he received the Beneficent Society Scholarship, and Thomas Schultz at Stanford University, where he studied, in addition to music, international relations (with a certificate in African studies) and modern languages.  He has also participated in coachings and lessons with, among others, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Emanuel Ax, Stephen Drury, Ursula Oppens, Jacques Rouvier, Peter Serkin, and members of the St. Lawrence and Borromeo String Quartets, as well as members of Ensemble Modern and Ensemble InterContemporain.  Currently he is finishing up doctoral work with Xak Bjerken in Keyboard Studies at Cornell University, where he received the Manon Michels Einaudi Grant as well as a Don Randel teaching fellowship.  There, he co-curated a festival around the music of the (50s) New York School and Walter Zimmermann.

A dedicated teacher both in the studio and the classroom, Andrew has taught at the college level courses ranging from music and diplomacy to majors-sequence Western tonal musicianship to writing seminars. Apart from a great investment in pedagogy, his academic interests meet at the intersection of sound studies, disability studies, and recording technologies and histories.

Andrew considers himself a native simply of the West Coast.  Born in San Diego, he spent his childhood in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia before moving to the Bay Area.  He is currently based in New York state.  He discovered Debussy and Messiaen at around age ten and promptly tore through their oeuvres: he blames them for being gateway drugs into the types of music he enjoys now.  Among other identities, he also assumes the identity of a closet cruciverbalist.