Noted for his compelling musicianship, instrumental mastery, and inspiring teaching, Jay Zhong is regarded by many musicians as a virtuoso violinist and esteemed instructor. Zhong’s musical gift was evidenced at age 14, when legendary violinist Nathan Milstein heard his playing and exclaimed: “Why spend millions of dollars on a Stradivarius when one can make an ordinary violin sound so good?!” Two years later, through the arrangement made by Milstein’s manager Harold Shaw, Zhong began his career as a professional violinist by performing a solo recital on the main stage (now Ronald Perelman Stage/Isaac Stern Auditorium) of the Carnegie Hall in New York.

A seasoned violinist now, Jay Zhong has performed on four continents of the globe and earned international critical accolades in capital cities of the world. Possessing a combination of formidable instrumental command and insightful musicality, Jay Zhong has captivated audiences and musicians alike with his performances. The Washington Post described “Zhong’s Virtuosity” as “nimble and unassuming… restrained but incisive, and without the bombast that some performers find so irresistible.” Brussels’ Le Soir hailed him as “chinois solar”; California’s Pacifica Tribune called his rendition of Brahms’ sonatas “a golden exploration”, while his performance of Beethoven won such praise from El Colombiano of Medellin: “Jay Zhong, super-violinist, with interpretation worthy of an analogy…” His recording of Eugene Ysaÿe’s complete Sonatas for Solo Violin, Opus 27 (SuMi 2007), and Paganini's 24 Caprices (SuMi 2019), two sets of demanding works in the virtuosic violin repertoire, have earned high regards from fellow violinists. 

Mr. Zhong’s interpretive artistry and musical sensitivity have made him a desirable chamber partner for fellow musicians. He has appeared with the Mendocino Music Festival Chamber Players, the Ives Collective, the International Chamber Players, Inc. and Bogota International Music Festival Chamber Ensembles. While serving as first violinist of the Julstrom String Quartet, he has toured with that ensemble extensively and recorded rarely heard chamber works by Rebecca Clarke (Centaur 2007).

An experienced teacher, Jay Zhong has held professorship at the California State University Los Angeles, Western Illinois University, Bogota International School of Music. He has taught violin masterclasses at Southern Methodist University, University of Delaware, University of Kansas, the Bogota International Music Festival, Western Illinois University, California State University, Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, Mr. Zhong was the first lecturer to introduce violin teaching techniques of Raphael Bronstein to the violin faculty at Beijing’s elite Central Music Conservatory. Continuing his mentor’s work, Jay Zhong has authored his own violin method book, “A Violinist’s Handbook, A Simpler Manual to Learn the Instrument,” published by iUniverse Publications Inc., available worldwide via online booksellers.

Born in Beijing, China, Jay Zhong began studying violin at age four. After winning a national audition at age eleven with the fiendish Paganini Violin Concerto No.1 he entered the violin studio of Ke Qiang Sui in Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. A year later, he was chosen by the Chinese government to compete in 1986's Beijing International Violin Competition. However, disarrayed by political climate, Jay Zhong fled the country alone to pursue studies in the United States. In New York City he was a pupil of Raphael Bronstein, noted assistant of Leopold Auer, who offered him shelter along with lessons. After the passing of Bronstein, Jay Zhong was tutored by Bronstein’s daughter Arianna Bronne until his completion of college. He then went on artistic training with renowned violinist Elmar Oliveira. Jay Zhong holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree from State University of New York at Purchase.

By invitation, Mr. Zhong has performed on some of the most valuable violins in the world, including the 1711 “Antonius” Stradivarius from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Arts and a 1692 Stradivarius that was previously used by Elmar Oliveira. Jay Zhong currently performs on a Chinese copy of the 1709 “La Pucelle” Stradivari violin made in 2010. He currently serves as Associate Concertmaster at Santa Rosa Symphony, which he joined in 2011.

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