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Mélodie Zhao

The Swiss pianist of Chinese origin, Mélodie Zhao, was born in September 1994 in Gruyère, Switzerland. At two and a half years old, her grandmother gave her her first piano lessons while her grandfather started to teach her basic music theory and to give her perfect pitch training.

About 3, Mélodie began piano lessons with Jiaquan Chen, professor at the Central Conservatory of Music of China in Beijing. At 9, she entered Geneva Conservatory in the class of Mayumi Kameda. Being coached by her father, a former violon teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music of China, improves her work efficiency and speeds up her progress. At 13, she entered Geneva Music University in the classe of Pascal Devoyon, and completed her Bachelor’s Degree with congratulations of the Jury at 14 years old. At the same time, she won the François Dumont Prize for the best interpretation of a Beethoven sonata. In September 2009, she began her Master’s Degree specialised in solo performance, while continuing to work with Pascal Devoyon. Besides 6 to 8 hours of daily piano practice, Mélodie does her schooling by correspondence.

After her first stage performance at 6 in Beijing and a semi-solo recital at 8 in Geneva, Mélodie Zhao gave her first complete solo recital at 10, at the Palais de l’Athénée in Geneva, with a programme of 70 minutes comprising works from all periods. At the same age, she performed as soloist with an orchestra. At 12, Mélodie played in a live broadcast programme on the Swiss French Radio to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday. At 13, she performed as soloist with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra directed by Muhai Tang, as well as with Belgorod Symphonic Orchestra from Russia. At 14, she played Chopin’s Concerto Nr.2 at Victoria Hall with Geneva Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Hervé Klopfenstein, as well as collaborated with Swiss Camerata and Divertimento string orchestra.

Since the age of 12, Mélodie Zhao is invited to perform at festivals and concert series such as Davos Festival, Musiksommer am Zurichsee, Piano à St-Ursanne, Les Sommets du Classique (Crans-Montana) St-Prex Festival, Montbenon Concerts (Lausanne) and Klangart Concerts (Burgdorf).

In July 2008, Mélodie Zhao set the world record as the youngest pianist ever to record Chopin’s 24 Etudes, at the age of 13. The CD received wide acclaim from numerous experts in Europe and Asia alike, and is put on the same level with the greatest versions of these works.

For 2009 and 2010, Mélodie Zhao earns a Migros Music Study Prize and is awarded Migros Culture Percentage Soloist.

In 2009, Mélodie Zhao is invited twice to give seminar, master-class and recitals in China. Upon the success of the events, she is engaged as a guest professor at the Music Faculty of China University of Petroleum.

Twice in 2009, Radio Suisse Romande Espace 2 produced live broadcast of Mélodie’s piano recital from the Ernest-Ansermet Studio in Geneva.

Mélodie Zhao has the rare talent of captivating the audience. Her technique and musicality are far beyond what her young age might imply. Andràs Schiff qualified her playing as “Fantastic!” According to a number of professionals, “Mélodie Zhao is sure to make her mark.”