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Zee Zee (PC: Marco Borggreve)

Shanghai’s Z+ International Chamber Music Festival Announces Inaugural Program 

Feature artists will include Clara-Jumi Kang, Yura Lee, Ning Feng, Louis Schwizgebel, Julian Steckel, Esther Yoo, Diotima Quartet, and more


To be held annually in Shanghai, China, the Z+ International Chamber Music Festival is hosting its first edition in April 2024. 

The event was founded by Chinese-American pianist Zee Zee (Zhang Zuo), who also serves as its artistic director. Involved in the festival’s strategy, vision, and programming, Zee Zee collaborates with leading international artists while contributing to the local community.

This year, the eight concerts will be held across the Jadgar Shanghai Symphony Hall and the Blackstone M+ Tri Space, and several will be streamed here on The Violin Channel


Beginning on April 12, 2024, the festival’s “Night of River Gauche” opening concert will feature conductor Zhang Lu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Strings

The first program will feature Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat major, Op. 20; Poulenc’s Sextet, FP 100; and the China premiere of Kapustin’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 105.

Titled “A Romantic Journey” the second concert on April 13 will see Kang, Feng, Lee, Steckel, and Zhang unite for Handel’s (arr. Halvorsen) Passacaglia, Beethoven’s Serenade in D major, Op. 8, and Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44. 

The “Silent Songs” concert on April 14 will see bass-baritone Shenyang and pianist Natalia Katyukova perform in the China premiere of Valentin Silvestrov’s Silent Songs

On April 17, Kang, Steckel, violist Lise Berthaud, and pianist Sunwook Kim, will perform with the Diotima Quartet, which comprises violinists Yun-Peng Zhao and Léo Marillier, violist Franck Chevalier, and cellist Alexis Descharmes.

Their program for “A Tribute to Gabriel Fauré” will include the latter’s Élégie, Op. 24 and Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 15, plus Chausson’s Concert for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 2. 

On April 18, the Diotima Quartet will perform works for the “Hidden Gem” program, including Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata” and String Quartet No. 2 “Intimate Letters,” plus Ligeti’s String Quartet Nos. 1 and 2.

On April 19, cellist Andrei Ioniță, VC Artist violinist Esther Yoo, Schwizgebel, and Zee Zee will perform Brahms’s Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8, and Dvořák’s Piano Trio No. 3 in F minor, Op. 65. 

In “Sentimental” on April 20, guitarist Xuefei Yang will perform Villa-Lobos’s Prelude No. 1, Mazurka-Chôro from Suite populaire brésilienne, and Étude No. 12; Agustín Barrios’s Un Sueño en la Floresta; and Jiří Jirmal’s Baden Jazz Suite

In the same concert, Yang will be joined by mezzo-soprano Huiling Zhu in Enrique Granados’s Six Songs from 12 Tonadillas en estilo antiguo (arr. Gregg Nestor), Joaquín Rodrigo’s Aranjuez, ma pensée, and Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas.

The duo will also perform Luiz Bonfá’s Manhã de Carnaval, Consuelo Velázquez’s Bésame mucho, Erroll Garner’s Misty, and Jule Styne’s I Fall in Love Too Easily.

The “Grand Finale” concert on April 21, will feature Zee Zee alongside musicians of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra performing Spohr’s Septet in A minor, Op. 147, and Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36.

For more on each of the artists, click here

As an official media partner, The Violin Channel will stream 3 of the festival's concerts on April 22, 27, and 30.


Currently based in Berlin and New York, Zee Zee began her musical training in Berlin at the age of five. She attended the Shenzhen Arts School, Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Peabody Institute, where her mentors included Dan Zhaoyi, Nelita True, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Robert McDonald, Leon Fleisher, and Alfred Brendel, from whom she continues to receive guidance.

Having performed with numerous major international orchestras, Zee Zee was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2013 to 2015, and performed at the Royal Albert Hall as a part of the BBC Proms. Among her recordings include those on the Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics labels. 

Her accolades include first prize at China’s 1st International Piano Concerto Competition, the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, the Krainev International Piano Competition, and the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition.

Learn more about her on her website and Instagram.

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