About: Sophie X. Zhang
Instrument you teach: Piano.
Do you play any other instrument in your spare time? I’d like to think I play rudimentary cello. 🙂
Education: BM – University of Toronto, Faculty of Music; MM – Manhattan School of Music; Artist Certificate in Chamber Music – San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Where are you from? The Chinese me is from Beijing, the Canadian me Toronto, the American me New York.
Favorite age group to teach: Any age with enthusiasm and curiosity.
Favorite style of music to teach: Classical.
Favorite song: Right now it’s “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca.
Favorite piece of music: Generally it tends to be whatever I’m working on.
Favorite food: Chinese cuisine (particularly the Northwestern style).
Favorite color: Red.
Do you have any pets? I don’t yet know when, but I will have a cat.
What’s your favorite musical memory? The most recent one is hearing Radu Lupu play Beethoven 3rd concerto. Only a few chords into the slow movement, I had tears running down my cheeks.
What do you like best about teaching music? It is a great privilege to share the love of beauty and goodness.
Who is your favorite composer or musician? Composers: the three B’s and Wagner. Musicians: a few includes Steven Isserlis, Marietta Orlov, Vladmir Horowitz.
What was the first piece of music you ever learned? Honestly can’t remember.
How many hours a day do you practice? It varies.
How long have you been at TBMS? Since fall 2015.
Feel free to list any competitions, musical accomplishments, roles, performances of note, etc.
Chinese-born Canadian pianist Sophie Xuefei Zhang enjoys a career both as soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared on stage with Kim Kashkashian, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Ian Swensen, Bonnie Hampton as well as members of the Juilliard String Quartet, Ives String Quartet, Windscape, and Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, among others.
First-place winner of the national Canadian Music Competition, Sophie was also the First-place winner of the Beijing district of Concours de Piano Sino-Francais “MIDO” and semi-finalist of the 12th Pacific International Piano Competition. Sophie was the winner of Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award in 2008 and was on full scholarship to attend the Chamber Music program at The Banff Centre. She has performed at venues such as Beijing Concert Hall, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University, Carnegie Hall, Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club, Toronto Centre for the Arts, Rolston Recital Hall at The Banff Centre, CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, and Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Theatre. Sophie has also been heard on Beijing Classical Music Radio Station FM97.4, CBC Radio Soundstreams Canada, and Banff Centre Radio Station. She has been named an Osher Foundation Scholar.
An active educator, Sophie has presented out-reach programs and lecture-recitals with various chamber groups on topics ranging from the piano trios of Schumann and Shostakovich to the transcriptions of Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg. She has also led masterclasses for the Alexander String Quartet at San Francisco State University and coached chamber ensembles from the Crowden School in Berkeley.
Sophie currently serves as Freelance Lecturer at MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, and is Artistic Director of Lex54 Concerts.
Any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share? I like tango (the dance and the music), watching plants/flowers grow, and Anais Nin’s writing.