You Zhao

You Zhao

Voice + Collaborative Piano


Pianist You Zhao is a highly sought-after musical partner, renowned for her versatile and dynamic collaborations in vocal, instrumental, and orchestral music. Dr. Zhao recently made her Carnegie debut as a SongStudio Young Artist, an opportunity guided by the esteemed soprano Renée Fleming. Her performances were praised for being "brilliant" and for bringing "elegance, drama and excitement."

With an International presence, Dr. Zhao is a prominent figure at concert venues and music festivals across Europe, North America, and China. She was a vocal piano fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Franz-Schubert-Institut, and Songfest. Notably, she was a finalist in the 2017 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition in London, performing alongside the third-prize winner of that year, baritone Josh Quinn. She also played for numerous masterclasses, including those led by Elly Ameling, Julius Drake, Margo Garrett, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, and Roger Vignoles, as well as many other eminent artists.

Dr. Zhao’s commitment to community engagement has led to collaborations with the Nashville Opera, where she served as music director, accompanist, and tour manager for the 2022 Mary Ragland Emerging Artist Program. She also maintains an ongoing collaboration with the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, serving as the principal pianist.

An advocate for new vocal music, Dr. Zhao’s involvement in creative teams for new works includes collaborations with New Opera West in Los Angeles, where she gave local performances to promote new operatic works. She also enjoys working with composers as an orchestral pianist. Her recent partnership with American composer Nicolas Lell Benavides resulted in a digital album of the comedic opera "Pepito", now available on major music platforms. Dr. Zhao holds degrees from Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory of Music. She earned her doctorate degree in Keyboard Collaborative Arts at Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California, where she received the Keyboard Collaborative Arts Ensemble Award, Keyboard Collaborative Arts Department Award and the prestigious Gwendolyn Koldofsky Scholarship. Dr. You Zhao holds positions at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and the California School of the Arts, San Gabriel Valley. Beyond her institutional roles, she is a dedicated piano instructor at the La Cañada School of Music and the Semitone Institute of Music.