TPHS pianist wins gold at international competition

Andrew Zhao at the piano.
Andrew Zhao at the piano.

Andrew Zhao, a junior at Torrey Pines High School, won the gold medal and a $5,000 prize in the Yamaha USASU International Competition for Young Pianists held from Jan. 4 - 7 at the Arizona State University School of Music in Tempe, Ariz.

The 16-year-old pianist competed in the Senior Category (ages 16-18) of the competition. He advanced through a round of video auditions and another two live competitions totaling over an hour of music, including a complete piano sonata by Beethoven. Only seven other pianists from countries including Canada, Korea and China were accepted to the live competitions in Arizona. The finalists were judged by a panel of six jury members. Both rounds were open to the public, and all performances were broadcast on the internet by Classical Arizona PBS.

Andrew currently studies piano with Inessa Litvin in San Diego and was previously a student at the Colburn Music Academy, a pre-college division of the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Andrew is also the pianist in Torrey Pines High School’s jazz band. “Andrew is an amazingly talented young man. He is a brilliant and expressive musician who is incredibly driven and focused. His passion for music is contagious, and he is a joy to work with,” TPHS Music Director Amy Gelb said.

The TPHS Music Department will present a Winter Concert at Canyon Crest Academy on Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m.