BR151

ZHENG ZHOU

JOANNE KONG

Baritone 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 and Japan.

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.


Recognized 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 Express-News)

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.

As 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.

"This 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

"It 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. 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
Richmond Times-Dispatc


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