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Principal Keyboardist at the Omaha Symphony

Yu Dean Zhang croppedAn emerging young pianist, Yu “Dean” Zhang (NRO 2013 & 2014) appears in concerts across the United States and China.  Praised by The Miami Harold, Zhang is recognized as “a powerful keyboard player” with a “smooth, fluid touch at the keyboard, bringing maximum expressiveness.”  

Most recently, Zhang was featured as a soloist with the New World Symphony as a winner of the New World Symphony Concerto Competition.  As a Piano Fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, he performed on piano, organ, harpsichord, and synthesizer in weekly orchestral concerts, in solo performances, and in chamber ensembles.  

Currently the Principal Keyboardist at the Omaha Symphony, Zhang is performing with the orchestra in more than 200 concerts and presentations during the 2015-2016 season.  A devoted pedagogue, Zhang joined the piano faculty of the New England Music Camp in 2015 and has presented master classes at universities throughout China.  Zhang will also be featured as the harpsichord soloist in J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the Omaha Chamber Music Society in June 2016.     

He has also won first place in the 2010 MTNA Young Artist Piano Performance Northwest Division Competition and was one of the six finalists in the National Division.  Additionally, he was awarded first prize in the Snowy Range Piano Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Seattle International Piano Competition.  Dean has also performed concertos with the Shanghai University Symphony, the University of Wyoming Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra, where he was invited for two summers as Principal Keyboardist. 

“I would like to thank Carl Topilow and the NRO staff for all the support.  I spent the most memorable two summers in Breckenridge with fantastic, talented young musicians and with my wonderful host parents Kim and John.  The experience at NRO helped me tremendously to grow as a professional musician before I went on to my next orchestral positions at the New World Symphony and The Omaha Symphony.  The continuous pursuit of the highest artistry at NRO has always been my inspiration for my performing career,” states Dean.

In addition to his achievements in piano performance, Zhang is an outstanding organist and was featured in April, 2015 as the organ soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 with the New World Symphony.  He has also served as the principal organist and artist in residence at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Laramie, Wyoming, and United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 

After two years of studying management science at Shanghai University, Zhang was granted a full scholarship at the University of Wyoming, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees as a student of Dr. Theresa Bogard.  Under the tutelage of Paul Schenly and Kathryn Brown, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.  Dr. Zhang also studied extensively with Joela Jones, Principal Keyboard of The Cleveland Orchestra.