Los Angeles based pianist Alexander Zhu works in a wide variety of roles on the piano, as well as synthesizer, harpsichord, organ, and celesta, as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. Alexander has performed solo recitals, concerti and chamber, orchestral, pop, fusion and film music coast to coast in the United States and across China, in esteemed venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Shenzhen Concert Hall, and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He has performed concerti with the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony and the Sioux City Symphony.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Alexander serves on the faculty of Pierce College and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, studying with Stewart Gordon. While pursuing his degree he served as an assistant lecturer in the Keyboard Studies Department. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from New England Conservatory in Boston, before completing a Master of Music degree at USC. He is the recipient of NEC’s Tourjée Alumni Scholarship and Thornton’s Distinguished Graduate Award. While at NEC, Alexander studied with Boston Symphony pianist Randall Hodgkinson and modern music expert Stephen Drury. Alexander has also attended the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship student, studying collaborative piano with Rita Sloan. Prior to his conservatory studies, he studied with Lydia Artymiw.
An accomplished orchestral musician, Alexander is the principal keyboardist of the Downey Symphony Orchestra, the YMF Debut Orchestra and the American Youth Symphony. He performs frequently with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. He previously served as the principal keyboard of Boston’s Discovery Ensemble and the New England Conservatory Orchestras, with whom he played over 100 concerts. He has also served as the principal keyboard of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, where he worked alongside principal players from the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony. He has collaborated with soloists such as Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Midori and Gil Shaham, and performed under conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, and Robert Spano. He has appeared on several film scores, including The Harvest (2013), directed by John McNoughton, as well as on radio programs on NPR, WGBH, KUSC and LACMA’s Sundays Live. He toured China in 2017-2018 as principal keyboardist and piano soloist with the Los Angeles Film Symphony.
An avid proponent of new music, Alexander performed as keyboardist on the viral Yeethoven Kanye West/Beethoven mashup concert series, appearing in media outlets such as the USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Reuters, and Agence France Presse. He has also performed with contemporary music ensembles Thornton Edge and nec shivaree, performing compositions of established composers and works of student composers. He has performed premieres of numerous works, including Brett Dean’s Three Memorials at Aspen, Andrew Norman’s Try and Marc Anthony Turnage’s Passchendale at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. An expert in minimalism, he has performed the music of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams in concert halls, art museums and nightclubs, and has presented lecture-recitals on the performance practice of minimalism.
Alexander is an enthusiastic educator of piano, music theory and music history; he maintains a busy teaching schedule, focusing on inspiring a lifelong love for music in his students and preparing them to pursue their passion for their instrument. He was a featured presenter at the MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and has been published in the California Association of Professional Music Teacher’s CAPMT Connect. He is a member of MTNA and MTAC. His students have been accepted into performance and scoring programs across the West Coast.