TIANJIANG

piano
biography

Tian Jiang is an internationally renowned pianist, recognized for his signature colors in sound and over-the-edge thrilling virtuosity. His critically acclaimed North American debut at Carnegie Hall was described by The New York Times as: "Shining, crisp, energetic and colorfully illuminated".

Born in Shanghai during the early days of China's Cultural Revolution, Tian's first memories resound not of Bach and Mozart, but of the boots of the Red Guard as they stomped through his home in search of cultural contraband - books and music - any vestige of Western arts.

As the child of "reactionary" parents - a Shanghai Opera tenor and a dentist - Tian had to learn his craft in secret. His father, ostracized from the opera and forbidden to sing Western music, nonetheless managed to teach his young son to play on one of the few state-owned pianos allowed in private use. Tian's rapid progress through lessons, begun at age 5, and subsequent private performances signaled a talent so prodigious, the authorities decided to overlook his parent's "condemned" status. By the time he turned nine, the tide of the Cultural Revolution had receded and he was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory to pursue his insatiable interest in classical music.

At the age of 16 he met Vladimir Ashkenazy, then touring China for the first time. So impressed was the great Russian virtuoso that he invited Tian to appear in the BBC film "Music after Mao - Ashkenazy in China," documenting his visit. A subsequent meeting with the American violinist and goodwill ambassador Isaac Stern likewise resulted in friendship, and an agreement with the Chinese government, to allow Tian to study at the San Francisco Conservatory for one year. Returning to China in 1982, he graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory with a bachelor's degree, won the first prize in the National Piano Competition of China, and eventually achieved his goal of returning to the United States. First prizes in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition and the William Kappell International Piano Competition enabled him to go to New York City where he studied at the Manhattan School of Music. A Van Cliburn Scholarship Award then took him to The Juilliard School where he graduated with a Master of Music.

His debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 1989 attracted so much critical attention that word of a remarkable talent - with a remarkable story - soon leaked to the media, prompting Tian's profile on CBS' "Sunday Morning" with Charles Kuralt. He has since been interviewed extensively on radio and television, including CBS' "This Morning" with Paula Zahn, "Backstage" on PBS, "Entertainment News" on CNN, "Show Biz" on CNN, "All Things Considered" on NPR and with Robert Sherman and June LaBelle on WQXR radio in New York.

Captivating audiences across the globe, he has been enthusiastically received in concerto appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke's, The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China. In recitals he has performed in more than 35 countries.

He is proudly the first Chinese pianist to have toured his homeland with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on its historic visit to China in 2000, and the first Chinese pianist to have joined the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra as a soloist on a ten-city US tour in 2003.

As a recording artist, Tian has already ten CDs under his credit including two new releases: "Tian Jiang Live at Carnegie Hall" in 2012 and 2013. His original composition "Shanghai Dream" is described by World Music Reviews as a "...slice of heaven".

On May 13th, 2012, Tian gave a very special concert "From Mao to Mozart to Stern" at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of Stern's visit to China. The concert was live recorded for his album "Tian Jiang Live at Carnegie Hall - 2012".

Among the highlights of 2013 was Tian's successful tour through South Africa in late March and April, including a first ever piano concert in the wild bush of the Kruger National Park. His triumph led into an immediate invitation to return to South Africa in March 2014 for an encore tour "Tian in the Wild". Also, on May 28th, 2013, Tian gave a stunning performance at a sold out concert in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The concert was live recorded for his latest album "Tian Jiang Live in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall - 2013".

An accomplished composer, Tian often closes his concerts with innovative presentations of his own works, which he defines as classically informed while infused by his native culture. Selections from his critically acclaimed "Shanghai Dream" suite were featured in "First Person Singular," a PBS documentary on the life of architect L. M Pei.

Tian has recorded several albums of his original compositions, including "Shanghai Dream," "Dancing Waves," "Peacock Dance," and "Folk Vision."


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