An imaginative and electrifying performer, Zee Zee (Zhang ZUO), is unique among the young generation of pianists. Described as “full of enthusiasm and glamour, radiating the vigor of youth” (Chinese Gramophone), her interpretations and communicative abilities have been praised as “taking us to another reality… bright, expressive and moving to the extreme” (Belgischer Rundfunk), while her creative maturity has been hailed as “a powerful, passionate and compelling representation of pure artistry” (Los Angeles Times).
In 22-23 season, Zee Zee returns to the Aspen Music Festival, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic, plays at the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival, Casa da Musica in Porto, Macao International Music Festival, and with North Carolina Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Slovakia Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava, Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Highlights in the recent seasons include the season-opening concert with the Estonian National Symphony under Neeme Järvi, with the China Philharmonic at Beijing Music Festival, with the Philharmonia orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall under Paavo Järvi, 2 times with the Hong Kong Philharmonic as well as the complete piano concertos of Beethoven and of Saint-Saëns with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Amid the pandemic, Zee Zee gave a recital tour in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore (Esplanade), and had her highly acclaimed recital debut at the prestigious Lucerne Festival in the summer of 2021.Read more
In October 2019, Universal released her first album under Deutsche Gramophone, featuring Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Paavo Järvi and the Philharmonia Orchestra, the second one, a solo album <journey> under Decca Classics featuring works from Wagner, Schönberg and Liszt is released in May 2022.
In the past seasons, Zee Zee performed with leading orchestras worldwide including the BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, RTÉ Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic, Macedonian Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Kristiansand Symphony, Turku Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, among others.
Zee Zee has given a number of notable recitals, including at the Wigmore Hall in London, De Doelen in Rotterdam, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Lincoln Center in New York, Vancouver Recital Society and Hong Kong’s Premiere Performances, and has appeared at festivals such as MiTo Festival, the Gilmore Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Brevard Music Center Summer Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Lucerne Festival, Biarritz Piano Festival and the SJE Arts Series in Oxford. Zee Zee was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2013-2015. In 2014 she performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.
She regularly works with some of today’s leading conductors, including Marin Alsop, Rune Bergmann, Jonathan Bloxham, Charles Dutoit, Alondra de la Parra, Domingo Hindoyan, Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Christoph Koncz, Michał Nesterowicz, Jun Märkl, Julian Rachlin, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Roberto Trevino and Xian Zhang.
A passionate chamber musician, Zee Zee is a founding member of the Z.E.N. Trio, alongside violinist Esther Yoo and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan. The trio released their first album featuring works from Brahms and Dvorak in 2017, and the second album featuring Shostakovich, Babadjanian, and Rachmaninov in 2019, both under Deutsche Gramophone. They tour regularly throughout the world, including the first highly acclaimed tour in North America in October 2019 with presenters such as San Francisco Performances, The Phillips Collection, Vancouver Recital Society, a 10-concert-tour in Australia with Musica Viva in August 2022, and an Asia tour in summer 2023.
Zee Zee began her musical training in Germany at the age of five and soon became one of the most sought-after young artists of her generation. Having completed her piano studies with Dan Zhaoyi at the Shenzhen Arts School, Zee Zee continued her artistic development under the mentorship of Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music and Yoheved Kaplinsky and Robert McDonald at The Juilliard School, where she won the coveted Petschek Piano Award. Zee Zee was awarded first prize at China’s 1st International Piano Concerto Competition, the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, and the Krainev International Piano Competition. She was also a prizewinner at the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition. She has studied at the Peabody Institute with Leon Fleisher and continues to receive guidance from Alfred Brendel. She is currently based in Berlin and New York.
“The artistry of pianist Zee Zee was on full display in Liszt’s Piano Concerto no.2. It was not only the energetic dexterity of Zee Zee’s sparkling runs or the perfectly-nailed cascading double octaves that impressed. In the more reflective and subtler moments, she also showed much intimate tenderness, relishing the playful give-and-take and gentle intimacy.”
“Zee Zee showed power and tenacity…gleaned substance from the work’s broad variations of colour… splashed and spouted unrelentingly…sensing her debut at the festival had passed muster with flying colours.”
“The highlight of the evening was her Tchaikovsky Concerto. She manages to make beautiful colors to create tension, but also represent the most tender sides of this otherwise very powerful concerto. Her fine dialogue with the solo cellist of the National Orchestra in the slow movement you will not soon forget: A small smile flitted both cheeks. The long-lasting applause after the performance was more than deserved.”
“…a powerful, passionate and compelling representation of pure artistry…”