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    Zhou, Jessica

    Harpist from Beijing, China, whose mother played the harp with the China National Symphony.  Jessica took up the instrument at nine years of age and attended the Central Conservatory of Music where she studied under the watchful eye of Yin Zuo.  At twelve years of age, she relocated to San Diego, California.  She furthered her education at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Juilliard, with Joan Holland and Nancy Allen, respectively. 


    In 2002, she delivered the world premiere of “Double Harp Concerto” by Haim Permont at the World Harp Congress.


    She joined the New York City Opera Orchestra as their principal harpist in 2004, a post she held for five years.


    On 28th January 2009, she and fellow harpist Mariko Anraku and mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle performed at Carnegie Hall.  The program comprised “Canciones populares espanolas” by Manuel de Falla, “Ma mere l’oye” by Maurice Ravel, “Prelude, Fugue and Variation in B minor, Op. 18”, and “Sonatine” by Jean-Michel Damase.


    The New York City Opera Orchestra offered up a similarly eclectic concert at Alice Tully Hall on 11th April 2009, when they performed Claude Debussy’s “Danses sacree et profane”, Lukas Foss’s “Time Cycle”, Olivier Messiaen’sTrois petite liturgies de la presence divine”, and Igor Stravinsky’s Pulcinella.


    In 2009, Jessica became a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Other groups with whom she has worked include Andover Chamber Music, the Arneis Quartet, the Azure Ensemble, the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the China National Symphony, the Concord Chamber Players, the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, the Hawthorne String Quartet, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Swiss Romande Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.


    She teamed up with Nancy Allen and Mariko Anraku on 25th April 2010 for a recital in the Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall at the Longy School of Music.  The harp-fest included Bela Bartok’s “Hungarian Dances”, Franck’s “Prelude, Fugue and Variation, Op. 18”, Marcel Grandjany’s “The Colorado Trail”, Francis Poulenc’s “Presto in C major”, Ravel’s “Ma mere l’oye”, John Thomas’s “Grand Duet in E flat major”, and the traditional “Sakura, Sakura” and “Spring on the Moonlit River”.


    On 5th July 2010, she participated in the Five Harp Concerti Finale at the American Harp Society’s National Conference.


    The BSO joined forces with soprano Dawn Upshaw on 24th August 2010 for “Songs of the Auvergne” by Joseph Canteloube and “Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra” by Osvaldo Golijov.  The concert was rounded out by “Symphony No. 31 in D” (“Paris”) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “Ma mere l’oye” by Ravel.


    On 26th September 2010, Jessica took part in the Gala Concert at the Boston Harp Festival, where she performed “Dances for Harp and String Quintet” by Claude Debussy with the Arneis Quartet.


    She was one of the American Harp Society’s Distinguished Harpists on 21st November 2010, when she performed her first solo recital in Boston.


    On 1st May 2011, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players took the stage in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory, where they interpreted “Introduction and Allegro” by Ravel and “Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp” by Debussy.


    The BSO played a wall-to-wall Ravel concert at Tanglewood on 24th July 2011, when they played the French master’s “Bolero”, “Ma mere l’oye” and “Piano Concerto in G”, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the keys.


    On 26th August 2011, Jessica and clarinetist Thomas Martin joined the Hawthorne String Quartet for a prelude concert at Tanglewood.  “Escape Routines” by Miroslav Srnka, “Rhapsodie” by Marcel Grandjany, “String Quartet No. 3” by David L. Post and “Three Preludes” by George Gershwin set the table for the main event, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.


    Itzhak Perlman conducted the BSO on 27th August 2011, when they performed the first and fifth symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven.


    On 28th August 2011, Lorin Maazel wielded the baton as the BSO closed their season with Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125”.


    Jessica and the Concord Chamber Players appeared at the Concord Academy Performing Arts Center on 15th January 2012, where they interpreted Andre Previn’s “Sonata for Clarinet and Piano”, Camille Saint-Saens’s “Fantasie for Harp and Violin”, and John Williams’ “Quartet for Harp, Clarinet, Violin and Cello”.


    On 2nd March 2012, Jessica gave a pre-concert talk about all things harp before the BSO launched into the overture from Benvenuto Cellini and Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz and “Piano Concerto in G” by Ravel, with soloist Cedric Tiberghien.


    Recordings on which she can be heard include Chen Yi/Karen Tanaka:  Invisible Curve with the Azure Ensemble, Eric Ewazen:  Bass Hits, and Profanes et Sacrees:  20th-Century French Chamber Music with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.


    In the field of music education, she has taught at Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Tanglewood Music Center.



    1. http://www.bu.edu/cfa/music/faculty/zhou/
    2. http://www.harpcolumn.com/news/item?item_id=29187
    3. http://www.jmwc.org/announcements/2008/04/musicians_of_le.html
    4. http://www.instantencore.com/concert/details.aspx?PId=5030167
    5. http://mary-mackenzie.com/html/itinerary.php
    6. http://classical-scene.com/2010/04/26/triple-header-concert-of-three-harps-from-pro-musicis-winners/
    7. http://www.weeklyvolcano.com/events/10804/
    8. http://classical-scene.com/2010/08/24/upshaw-morlot/
    9. http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/music/boston-harp-festival
    10. http://artsfuse.org/28740/classical-music-sampler-may-2011/
    11. http://classical-scene.com/2011/07/25/thibaudet-krivine-ravel/
    12. http://rogovoyreport.com/2011/08/24/tanglewood-final-bso-weekend-2011/
    13. http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559661
    14. http://www.facebook.com/events/141659025922309/
    15. http://classical-scene.com/2012/03/03/eschenbach-tiberghien-bso/
    16. http://web.me.com/julscol/Andover_Chamber_Music/Artist_Bios.html
    17. http://www.newworldrecords.org/album.cgi?rm=view&album_id=81954
    18. http://www.examiner.com/article/a-new-recording-of-profane-and-sacred-french-chamber-music
    19. http://www.albanyrecords.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AR&Product_Code=TROY479
    20. http://necmusic.edu/faculty/jessica-zhou?lid=2&sid=3
    21. http://www.bso.org/brands/tanglewood/press/press-releases/archived-press-releases/2011_2/march-1,-2012.aspx




















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