Symphony of the Redwoods Winter Concert

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Featuring Artists: Jay Zhong (classical violinist) and Stephen Harrison (cellist)

Jay Zhong was born in Beijing, China on January 13, 1973 and is a contemporary Chinese-American classical violinist. Born to a family of professional violinist, Zhong started violin lessons around age 4 with his parents. He was one of the last pupils of Russian violin pedagogue Raphael Bronstein. Mr. Zhong was recognized at age 14 by renowned violinist Nathan Milstein which led to a series of concerts, promoted and arranged by Milstein’s manager Harold Shaw that included a debut at New York Carnegie Hall main stage at age 16. He went on performing as a soloist and, more often, recitalist in cities in North America, Western Europe and Asia.

Zhong performs in a number of professional orchestras in Northern California. Notably, he is the Associate Concertmaster in Santa Rosa Symphony, and Concertmaster at the Mendocino Music Festival. As a violin instructor, Zhong teaches at Sonoma State University and has held professorship at Western Illinois University (2002-2004) and California State University, Los Angeles (2004-2009), and taught master-classes in universities in North America, South America, and China. Zhong is the author of the violin instruction book A Violinist’s Handbook, A Simpler Manual to Learn the Instrument, a method manual that combines the Leopold Auer Violin School guidelines with his own findings in practical solutions. He became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

Stephen Harrison is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and Boston University’s School for the Arts. He has been on the faculty at Stanford University since 1983 when he returned to his native Bay Area to become cellist of the newly formed Stanford String Quartet. His performing life has combined chamber, solo and contemporary music. Former principal cellist of the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco and the New England Chamber Orchestra, he is currently principal cellist of the Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra, cellist at the Telluride Chamber Music Festival and on the faculty at the SoCal Chamber Music Workshop. Mr. Harrison has served as artist/faculty at the Rocky Ridge Music Center, and at Italy’s Schlern and Orfeo International Music Festivals.

He has been solo cellist of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players since 1985. With the Contemporary Players, he has given over 50 world premieres and made commercial recordings for the CRI, Albany, Music and Arts, New Albion, Newport Classics, New World and YBM labels. In 1998, he co-founded the Ives Quartet and continues performing, recording and teaching with that ensemble in the Bay Area and around the United States. In 2014, the IQ transformed into the Ives Collective. Stephen and his wife, Susan Freier, are co-artistic directors of the multi-faceted ensemble.

Story by Nelson Symes

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