Emory University Music Student of the Month: Leo Weiyu Zhao
Leo Weiyu Zhao is a sophomore at Emory University double majoring in Biology and Music, with concentration in Piano Performance. He is the pianist of the Emory Wind Ensemble and the winner of the 2016-2017 Concerto and Aria Competition with the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Zhao has performed in New York's Carnegie Hall as the winner of the 2013 Carnegie Hall Russian Seasons Competition and Lincoln Center as well as the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles. He was the winner of the Los Angeles Music Teacher's Association of California's Bach Festival and a recipient of the California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition for Piano Performance twice.
As a high school freshman, Zhao was selected as the pianist and the youngest member of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) Philharmonic, where he remained for four years and during which time he learned from and performed with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra. Under guidance of conductor Bruce Kiesling, he also led and performed with the Chamber Ensemble for two years. Zhao was a tenor saxophonist in the Arcadia High School Marching Band, marching at the 2012 Rose Parade in Pasadena, and the first saxophonist of PYSO Symphony for three years, during which time they performed venues in Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, and the United States Air Force Academy with the Air Force Academy Band.
Zhao began playing piano at the age of four. He was the student of Eiko Takeuchi in Japan and has studied for the past six years under Esmiralda Roushanova, whom deeply influenced his playing style and has continued to drive his musical passion. At Emory University, Zhao was the student of Keiko Ransom and is currently studying under William Ransom. Outside of his musical pursuits, Zhao works as a research assistant in the Department of Pediatrics Hematology/ Oncology lab and physician shadow at CHOA Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center. Zhao plans to pursue a Doctorate in Medicine in the future while maintaining his love and passion for music.