Conrad Yiwen Tao (born June 11, 1994) is an American composer, pianist and violinist. Tao's piano and violin performances since childhood brought him early recognition at music festivals and competitions, and he is receiving critical praise for his recitals and concerts with symphony orchestras.
He has been featured on the PBS TV series From the Top – Live from Carnegie Hall as violinist, pianist and composer. Critics have found promise in his early compositions, and he won eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra has commissioned Tao to write an orchestral work for them.Among other honors, Tao is a US Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a Davidson Fellow Laureate and a Gilmore Foundation Young Artist.
He travels around the U.S. and abroad performing concerts and, at the same time, he attends the Columbia University–Juilliard School joint degree program. In 2012, Tao released a solo piano album, The Juilliard Sessions: Conrad Tao Plays Debussy and Stravinsky, and a synthpop album, Eyelids.
He produced and hosted a three-night music festival, the UNPLAY Festival, in New York City from June 11–13 2013. In 2013, he also released two new albums, Gordon Getty: Piano Pieces and his debut full-length solo album, Voyages.
Tao was born in Urbana, Illinois to Sam Tao, an engineer, and Mingfang Ting, a research scientist. Both parents were born in China and earned doctorates from Princeton University. Hearing his older sister Connie's piano lessons, Tao began to plink out children's songs on the piano, by ear, at the age of 18 months.
He gave his first piano recital at age 4. At age 8, he made his concerto debut with the Utah Chamber Music Festival Orchestra, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major. At the age of 9, Tao moved with his family (he has an older sister, Connie) to New York City, and he began studying in the Juilliard School's Pre-College Division and at the Professional Children's School.
He won the 2003 Walgreens National Concerto Competition as a violinist. In 2004 and 2007 (live at Carnegie Hall) and 2011, Tao was featured on the PBS and NPR series From the Top as violinist, pianist and composer.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra has commissioned Tao to write an orchestral work commemorating the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, scheduled to debut in November 2013. In early 2013.
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