JAY ZHONG's violin prowess was evidenced at age 14, when legendary violinist Nathan Milstein heard his playing and exclaimed: "Why spend millions of dollars on a Stradivarius when one can make an ordinary violin sound so good?" Two years later, through arrangement by Milstein's manager Harold Shaw, Jay began his career as a professional violinist by performing a solo recital on the main stage of New York's Carnegie Hall.
A seasoned violinist now, Jay Zhong has performed on four continents of the globe and earned accolades for his solo recitals in capital cities of the world. The Washington Post described "Zhong's Virtuosity" as "nimble and unassuming… restrained but incisive, and without the bombast that some performers find so irresistible." Brussels' Le Soir hailed him as "chinois solar"; California's Pacifica Tribune called his rendition of Brahms' sonatas "a golden exploration", while his performance of Beethoven won such praise from El Colombiano of Medellin: "Jay Zhong, super-violinist, with interpretation worthy of an analogy…".
Jay's musical sensitivity has made him a desirable partner for fellow musicians. He has collaborated with reputable musicians from his generation, including pianists Yuan Sheng, Audrey Axinn, Robert Koenig, violist Hong Mei Xiao and Hui Liu, and violinists Xiang Gao and Keng Yuen Tseng. While serving as first violinist of the Julstrom String Quartet, he has toured with that ensemble extensively and recorded rarely heard chamber works by Rebecca Clarke (Centaur label).
Born in Beijing, China, Jay Zhong began studying violin at age 4 with his parents. He won a national audition at age 11 with the fiendish Paganini Violin Concerto No.1 to enter the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. At age 12, he left China alone for the United States. In New York City, he was a pupil of Raphael Bronstein, pedagogical descendant of Leopold Auer, who offered him shelter along with lessons. After the passing of Bronstein, Jay was tutored by Arianna Bronne until his completion of college. He continued his artistic training with renowned violinist Elmar Oliveira. Jay Zhong holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts degree from State University of New York at Purchase.
By invitation, Jay has performed on some of the most valuable violins in the world, including the 1717 "Antonius" Stradivarius from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Arts and the 1692 "Oliveira" Stradivarius. Jay Zhong currently serves as Associate Concertmaster at the Santa Rosa Symphony, Concertmaster of Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra, and teaches Applied Violin at Sonoma State University Department of Music.