Zongheng Zhang


Home country: Enshi, Hubei. China

Alma mater: Bard College Conservatory of Music, B.A., Psychology, B.M., Violin & Viola Performance, 2021

Instagram: @zigzag_hashtag_violin_viola

Photos by Matt Dine


Awards/Competitions: Winner, 2020 Bard Conservatory Concerto Competition, Violin; Winner, 2018 Bard Community Orchestra Concerto Competition, Viola

Appearances: Napa Valley Blackburn Music Festival, 2017

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I watched Tom and Jerry every day when I was four years old. There are so many episodes made with classical music, and I told my parents at the time I wanted to play music for cartoons.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? In high school, around 15 to 16 years old.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply? I went to many TŌN concerts when I was an undergrad at the Bard Conservatory of Music. I like the variety of the repertoire. Also, TŌN invites many guest conductors to come and perform. I can learn not only from the players, but also from different conductors.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Luis Garcia-Renart, my chamber music teacher when I was at the Bard Conservatory. He always told me to release my instinct for music.

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? In the classical music world, I like Beethoven and Mahler the most. I also like rock music and electronic music.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? Elgar’s Cello Concerto. When I was young, I watched a movie about the cellist Jacqueline Du Pre. Her story and the music in the movie combined so well that it always gave me goosebumps.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Hearing the applause and cheers after the concert. For me, that is the meaning of making music.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Billie Eilish

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Percussion

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? Psychology researcher, working day to night in the lab, collecting data. I am actually doing that in my free time!

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Freud. I read a lot of the books he wrote and would like to discuss with him about some of the theories he created, and tell him how he influenced the development of psychology study.
Luis Garcia-Renart, my biggest inspiration in life. He passed away last year, I miss him.
And my mom. I haven’t been back to China since 2018. I want to see her and have a good dinner.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I am the lab manager for the psychology department at Bard, doing research on memory and sleep, and heart rate variability. As I mentioned above, in my free time, I will just stay in the lab and collect data the whole day.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Practice! But slowly.