Los Angeles based musician Alexander Zhu has performed solo recitals, concerti and chamber, orchestral, pop, fusion and film music coast to coast in the United States, across Europe and China. He is also an established film and TV composer whose work has been showcased in film festivals across the US and Europe, and can be heard on Disney+, Netflix and TF1 (France).
Alexander serves on the faculties of Occidental College, Pierce College and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, where he teaches music theory, composition and piano. Prior to his current appointments, he taught at the University of Southern California. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he studied with Stewart Gordon, while serving as a lecturer in the Piano Department. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from New England Conservatory in Boston. He is the recipient of NEC’s Tourjée Alumni Scholarship and Thornton’s Distinguished Graduate Award. While at NEC, Alexander studied with Boston Symphony pianist Randall Hodgkinson and renowned modern music expert Stephen Drury. Alexander attended the Aspen Music Festival on fellowship, studying collaborative piano with Rita Sloan. Prior to his conservatory studies, he studied with Lydia Artymiw.
An avid proponent of new music, Dr. Zhu performed on the viral Yeethoven Kanye West/Beethoven mashup concert series, appearing in media outlets such as the USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Reuters, and Agence France Presse. He is an expert in minimalism, performing the music of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams in concert halls, art museums and nightclubs. He has presented lecture-recitals on the performance practice of minimalism; his dissertation focused on pioneering new analytical techniques for the style.
An accomplished orchestral musician, Alexander has served as the principal keyboardist of the American Youth Symphony, the Downey Symphony Orchestra, the YMF Debut Orchestra, Boston’s Discovery Ensemble and the New England Conservatory Orchestras, with whom he played over 100 concerts. He has also performed with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. For two years, Alexander served as the principal keyboard of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, where he worked alongside principal players from the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony. He has collaborated with soloists in Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Midori and Gil Shaham, and performed under conductors including Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, and Robert Spano. He has appeared on several film scores, including The Harvest (2013), directed by John McNoughton, as well as on radio programs on NPR, WGBH, KUSC and LACMA’s Sundays Live. He toured China as piano soloist and principal keyboardist with Los Angeles Film Symphony, performing in 15 cities across the country.
Dr. Zhu is an enthusiastic educator of piano, music theory and composition; he maintains a competitive piano and composition studio, focusing on inspiring a lifelong love for music in his students and preparing them to pursue their passion for the art. He was a featured presenter at the MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and has been published in the California Association of Professional Music Teacher’s CAPMT Connect. He is a member of MTNA and MTAC, and served as the President of the USC MTNA Chapter. His students have been accepted to top-ranking colleges and universities across the country, including Columbia University, Princeton University, MIT, USC and UCLA.