James Zhang, Assistant Principal Violin
William and Lynda Steere Chair
James Zhang received his B.M. degree at Tianjin Conservatory of Music of China, where he also remained as a faculty member after graduating with honors. In the summer of 1986, he attended the Meadowmount School of Music under the sponsorship of Mrs. Galamian.
He began his graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Charles Treger, the first American to win the Wieniawski International Violin Competition. Later, James continued working with Mr. Treger at the University of Massachusetts, where he earned his M.M. degree in 1989.
James was the concertmaster of the Five College Symphony Orchestra. After winning the concerto competition, he performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the symphony. The year prior to coming to Naples, James began graduate work on his DMA degree at Ohio State University where he held a full teaching assistantship. He also served as the concertmaster of both the university and chamber music orchestras at Ohio State.
James’ orchestral experience includes performances with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Florida West Coast Symphony and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. He has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1990.
I’m from Tianjin, China. I earned my Bachelor of Music degree at Tianjin Conservatory of Music of China and my Master of Music from University of Massachusetts. I joined the Naples Philharmonic in 1990.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
Playing with Luciano Pavarotti with the orchestra at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
What inspired you to become a musician?
Violin was the most readily accessible instrument to study as a student in China. I was challenged to play by a childhood friend and, wanting to be the best, I practiced with the goal of being accepted to the conservatory.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I thoroughly enjoy playing chamber music with my wonderful colleagues.
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
Continuing to approach all the music I play at the highest artistic level and not becoming complacent in my preparation.
What are your favorite compositions?
Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
What have you been listening to recently?
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 with the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan.
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
Everyone in my immediate family plays an instrument. My mom played piano and was a vocal instructor, I have a sister that plays piano, and I have a brother that is a composer.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy playing chess, cooking and traveling.