Noted for his compelling musicianship, instrumental fluency, and inspiring teaching, Jay Zhong is well regarded by many professional musicians as a virtuoso violinist and teacher. His musical gift was evidenced at age 14, when legendary violinist Nathan Milstein heard his playing and exclaim: "Why spend millions of dollars on a Stradivarius when one can make an ordinary violin sound so good!"
Jay Zhong gave his first public recital at age 8, and made his American debut at age 16, performing a recital on New York’s Carnegie Hall’s main stage (later known as the Isaac Stern Auditorium). He has appeared as a soloist, both in recital and with orchestra, on four continents of the globe and has earned critical accolades for his performances in some of the most coveted music venues in the world. His unquestionable command for his instrument and original insight for the music have captivated audiences and musicians around the world. The Washington Post described his performance as “nimble and unassuming…restrained but incisive, and without the bombast that some performers find so irresistible.” Brussels’ Le Soir hailed him as “chinois solar”, California’s Pacifica Tribune called his interpretation of Brahms “a golden exploration”, while his performance of works by Beethoven won such praise from El Colombiano of Medellin: “Jay Zhong, super-violinist, with interpretation worthy of an analogy…” An avid chamber musician, Mr. Zhong has been on roster of the International Chamber Players, Inc., Bogota International Music Festival Chamber Ensembles, and served as first violinist in Western Illinois University's faculty ensemble Julstrom String Quartet.
As a teacher, Mr. Zhong has held violin professorship at the California State University, Los Angeles, Western Illinois University, Bogota International School of Music, and the Young Musicians at Purchase program of the State University of New York. He has taught master-classes at the Southern Methodist University, University of Delaware, University of Kansas, the Bogota International Music Festival, Western Illinois University, California State University, Los Angeles, and has given a master-clinic on modern violin pedagogy to the faculty of China’s elite Beijing Central Music Conservatory. He is also the author of the violin-training textbook, “A Violinist’s Handbook, A Simpler Manual to Learn the Instrument,” available worldwide via online booksellers.
Born in Beijing, Jay Zhong began studying violin at age 4 with his violinists-parents. He won a national audition at age 11 with the fiendish Paganini Violin Concerto No.1 and entered the violin studio of Ke Qiang Sui at the prestigious Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. At age 12, following his successful recital at Beijing Concert Hall, he was chosen by the Chinese government to compete in the 1986's Beijing International Violin Competition. Instead, Jay Zhong fled the country to pursue studies in the United States. In New York City he was a pupil of the late Russian pedagogue, Raphael Bronstein, an Auer violin-school exponent. Jay Zhong later completed his training with the celebrated violin master Elmar Oliveira. Mr. Zhong holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree from State University of New York at Purchase.
By invitation, Mr. Zhong has performed on some of the most valuable violins in the world, including the 1717 "Antonius" Stradivarius from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Arts, and the "ex-Oliveira" 1692 Stradivari loaned to him by violinist Elmar Oliveira, An enthusiast of modern Chinese fine violins, he performs on a 2003 violin made by luthier Qing Yang Liu on this album.