Conrad Tao emerged as a very impressive young performer and composer in the first decade of the 20th century, becoming the only classical musician on Forbes magazine's 2011 "30 Under 30" list of people who just might change the world.
Tao was playing piano at a very young age, with a public performance of Mozart
's Concerto No. 12 at the age of eight, but then he also took the violin, which he studied in Juilliard's pre-college division. He self-released an album of piano music recorded at the Verbier Festival in 2008. By 2012, he had received recognition as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, been named a Gilmore Young Artist, and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. That same year, he also released an album of Mozart
concertos with Santa Fe Pro Musica and his first recording as an EMI Classics
artist, an digital exclusive featuring music by Debussy
, and his own works. In fact, between 2004 and 2011, Tao had won eight ASCAP Morton Gould
Young Composer Awards. He began a joint degree program at Columbia and Juilliard, studying both piano and composition, but still performed on both violin and piano. He was heard on both instruments on Jackie Evancho
's Dream with Me television special, and more than once played both the Mendelssohn
Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto in the same concert. In 2013, Tao was commissioned by the Hong Kong Philharmonic
to compose a piece for China Day and the orchestra's new season under Jaap van Zweden
, and by the Dallas Symphony
to observe the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Also on his 2012-2013 schedule were performances in Europe, Asia, South America, and all five Beethoven
piano concertos in the U.S. Tao's second EMI
recording, with his piano music along with that of Rachmaninov
, was released in June 2013.