(2011) FRANZ LISZT: 12 ÉTUDES D'EXÉCUTION TRANSCENDANTE
Swiss pianist of Chinese origin; Mélodie Zhao was born on 7 September 1994 in Gruyère. Extraordinarily gifted with perfect pitch; she began studying piano at 3 years old with Jiaquan Chen; professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. When she was 9; she entered the Geneva Conservatory under the instruction of Mayumi Balet-Kameda and at 13 began her Bachelors of Arts in Music with Pascal Devoyon at the Geneva Superior Conservatory.
At the age of 14; she gained her Bachelors degree with the highest honours; also receiving the François Dumont Prize for the best interpretation of a Beethoven sonata. At 16; she was awarded her Master Soloist Diploma with distinction; as well as the Georges Filipinetti and Carola Pajonk prizes for the musician with the highest and most refined musical sensitivity. At the same time; Mélodie Zhao was a Soloist with Migros Pour-cent culturel from 2009 to 2011.
Accustomed to the stage since she was 6 years old; at 10 she gave her first solo recital in Geneva as well as her debut performance as a soloist with an orchestra. At the age of 12; she began her career as an international concert pianist; being asked to play at festivals and concert series such as the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad; the Davos Festival; the Zurich Festival.
Since she was 13; Mélodie Zhao has performed regularly with major ensembles such as the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra; the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra; the Zurich Chamber Orchestra; the National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra; the Geneva Symphony Orchestra; the Russian Symphony Orchestra of Belgorod; etc. Also at 13; this acknowledged virtuoso recorded Chopin’s 24 Etudes; a world first both in terms of her age as well as quality; which was an outstanding success both with the public and with international experts and critics.
A year later; after being invited to give a master class; she became Guest Professor at the Music Faculty of the University of Shengli in China. Mélodie Zhao frequently performs at the Victoria Hall in Geneva; where she joined other artists for an exceptional recital of Chopin’s 27 Etudes on 2 March 2010 (Z’amis OSR concert); then as part of a Migros-Classics international tour with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.
In April 2010; at the Festival of Jinan (China); Mélodie Zhao played to great acclaim a work of her own composition “Sources”; a suite in the form of three tableaux for solo piano. It received a standing ovation when it was premiered in Europe and her achievement has featured on numerous radio and television programmes.
(Translation: Deborah Fiette)
Mélodie Zhao is typical of all young girls of her generation : she uses all the modern means of communication, has her own web page, is actively present on social networks and lives her art and work passionately.
Yet her own passion is rather unusual: as a 17 year old, her ambition is to play the most complex piano cycle ever written, with the added bonus of making it feel like a walk in the park whilst striving to unite musicality and virtuosity in one vital surge.
Recorded in the best recording studio in Switzerland, the famous Salle de Musique in La Chaux-de-Fonds, these Transcendental Etudes, written by Liszt in Vienna at the age of 15, emerge, with Mélodie Zhao’s gracefulness, as a bursting, youthful, loving tribute to life.
An interpretation as cheeky and mind-blowing as the CD cover!