This Saturday, we hear from 16-year-old pianist Mark Zhu of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, playing pieces by Bach, Debussy, Ginastera, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Liszt. Thank you to the New Music School for letting us record in their River North location.
At 16 years old, Mark Zhu is a junior at Walter Payton College Prep on Chicago’s Near North Side. He studies piano with Yana Reznik at the New Music School in Chicago, and was featured on Introductions in April 2020 as the 2nd place-getter in the school’s 2020 Concerto Competition. Recently, he performed in masterclass for the internationally renowned pianist Paul Lewis. In 2018, Mark performed in Iceland’s Eldborg and Kaldalón performance halls in the Harpa Hall of Reykjavik, Iceland; as well in The Cleveland Institute’s Kulas Hall and The Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s David Stull Hall. He has also attended several international music camps in Switzerland and Italy, and was a gold medalist in the Chicago Area Teachers Association Sonata Festival. Additionally, he is the principal pianist of the CYSO Symphony Orchestra; was a violinist with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra; and plays in a piano duo through the Music Institute of Chicago Academy.
Mark takes classes from Stanford Online High School, and tutors other students in mathematics and philosophy. Additionally, Mark enjoys community outreach. He has played in a charity concert for Lurie Children’s Hospital. He runs varsity for his high school’s cross country and track teams, and has competed on the state level with the math team. During the quarantine he’s taken to running stairs and benching his dog.