Zheng Zhou possesses a "rich creamy baritone" (Los Angeles Times)
voice, and has excelled with major opera companies and orchestras in a wide range
of styles from Mozart, Donizetti and Schubert to Verdi, Mendelssohn and Orff.
He has been hailed by the St. Louis Dispatch as "a superior musician",
while his performance of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor led the San Francisco
Examiner to exclaim "Zheng Zhou shone. His fiercely concentrated, vocally
and theatrically incisive Enrico would have been an asset in any Lucia."
Zheng Zhou made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1993 as Yamadori in Madama
Butterfly, and later returned to sing Ping in Turandot and Fiorello in Il Barbiere
de Siviglia. His San Francisco Opera debut came n 1992 in La Forza del Destino;
with that company he has also sung in Milhaud's Christophe Colomb. He sang the
roles the Father and Ludovie in Philip Glass' La Belle et la Bete at the Brooklyn
Academy of Music and subsequently on tour across the United States, Europe, Mexico
Mr. Zhou can be heard as Abraham
Lincoln on Nonesuch Records' recording of Philip Glass' The Civil Wars, as the
baritone soloist in Johannes Somary's Song of Innocence on Premier Recordings,
in Jerrold Fisher's Hosannah on Compact Disc Digital Audio and in Jason K. Hwang's
chamber opera The Floating Box on New World Records. He has appeared on the San
Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Debut Recital Series.
Mr. Zhou holds degrees from the University of Illinois, St. Louis Conservatory,
the Shanghai Conservatory, and a diploma in lieder performance from the Schubert
Institute in Vienna.
as an artist of exceptional versatility, keyboardist Joanne Kong has received
critical praise for her "great finesse and flexibility," (The Washington Post)
"utmost keyboard sensitivity and variety of tone," (Richmond Times-Dispatch )
"remarkable technical ability," (The Oregonian) and "superb artistry." (San Antonio
BR133 is the first-ever recording
of the Goldberg and Diabelli Variations on the harpsichord and piano, performed
by a single artist. The harpsichord used in the recording was built by Eric Herz
of Cambridge, MA, it is modeled after the instruments of the 18th-century German
builder Hieronymous Hass.
With a specialty
in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Dr. Kong has been a featured soloist in
the Los Angeles Bach Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Abbey Bach Festival, Bach
Aria Festival and Institute, Houston Harpsichord Society Recital Series, Texas
Bach Collegium series, and has received critical acclaim for her interpretations
of the Goldberg Variations and Well-Tempered Clavier.
a Beethoven performer she was designated as a Laureate in the 1983 National Beethoven
Foundation Fellowship Auditions, and won the Grand Prize in the International
Piano Recording Competition for a 1985 performance of the Diabelli Variations.
Kong's concertizing as a soloist has included
orchestral performances under William McGlaughlin, Myung-Whun Chung, Alberto Bolet,
Samuel Baron, and George Manahan, and she is in frequent demand as a chamber keyboardist
at concert venues throughout the country, including recent collaborations with
the Shanghai String Quartet, flutist Eugenia Zukerman, and cellist James Wilson.
Her numerous radio broadcasts across the country have included National Public
Radio, WQXR in New York, and WFMT in Chicago.
has instantly become one of my favorite CDs, and I have hundreds, even just of
baroque music....Kong's CD is a masterpiece, and should be bought without hesitation
by all Bach fans."
Dr Barry D. Steben National University of Singapore
"Novel as this double CD may be, the
real distinction of these recordings is their performances. Her Bach is unusually
lyrical, while it adheres to standard Baroque performance practices. The "Diabelli"
disc is more than a bonus. Kong's songful, soulful and sensitively dynamic treatment
ranks at or (usually) above the levels of the dozen-odd other recordings of the
piece that I've heard."
Clarke Bustard, Music Editor
takes an artist with a great deal of self-confidence, not to mention talent, to
undertake recording another version of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Joanna Kong's
recording of the work on harpsichrd helps to give it a more historically accurate
perspective, and her ability at the keyboard offers reason for contemplating its
addition to your collection....Ms. Kong demonstrates enormous improvisational
ability in rendering these variations....The subtle wit, charm, and inventiveness
she brings to this work allow it to move beyond their status as mere lullabies
and into the realm of pleasurable musical interludes to be savored over and over....If
you're looking for an alternative to the Gould recordings, this one should head
toward the top of your audition list."
John Crossett , soundstage.com
Novel as this double CD may be, the real distinction of these recordings
is their performances. Her Bach is unusually lyrical, while it adheres to standard
Baroque performance practices. The Diabelli disc is more than a bonus.
Kongs songful, soulful and sensitively dynamic treatment ranks at or (usually)
above the levels of the dozen-odd other recordings of the piece that I've heard.
Clarke Bustard, Music Editor
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