15-year-old American pianist and composer Conrad Tao was found playing children’s songs on the piano at 18 months of age and has never looked back. Born in Urbana, Illinois, Conrad started formal piano lessons at 3, gave his first public piano recital at age 4, and performed a recital at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Orlando, Florida at age 7. He made his concerto debut at age 8, was featured on the national radio program “From the Top” as pianist and composer at age 10, and on PBS’s “From the Top—Live from Carnegie Hall” TV series as violinist, pianist and composer two years later.
Conrad’s recital performances have been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today”. In 2008, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development named Conrad a Davidson Fellow Laureate, a $50,000 award recognizing his exceptional talent. Past concerto performances include those with the Fort Worth Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, among others. He has given solo piano recitals at Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, the Harriman-Jewell Series in Kansas City, the Gilmore Rising Stars Series, Portland Piano International, the Ravinia Festival, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Festival Internacional de Piano “Blanco y Negro” in Mexico City, Mexico, and a pre-concert recital at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, among others. Conrad was the soloist during the Juilliard Orchestra’s tour of China during the summer of 2008. He also performed in London’s Wigmore Hall as soloist with a chamber orchestra comprised of students from Juilliard and the Royal Academy of Music. Conrad gave his debut recital at the Louvre this past April and was immediately invited back to give a recital on their piano series during the 2011-12 season.
As an accomplished composer, Conrad’s works have been featured on “From the Top”, as well as in performances throughout the country. At age 10, Conrad’s Silhouettes and Shadows for solo piano won the BMI Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner of BMI’s prestigious award for composers in the Western Hemisphere. Conrad has been a seven-time consecutive winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award since 2004. He has received commissions from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Midwest Young Artists, the Music in the Loft concert series in Chicago, the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio, and Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music. His first piano concerto, The Four Elements for Piano and Orchestra, was commissioned by the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and premiered in October 2007.
Conrad collaborated with ProMusica again in 2008’s Fanfare Pro Musica, premiered at the opening night concert of the orchestra’s thirtieth season. Conrad served as composer-in-residence for Music in the Loft’s 2009-2010 season. Conrad is currently studying piano with Yoheved Kaplinsky at the Juilliard’s Pre-College Division. He studies composition privately with Christopher Theofanidis. He attendshigh school through Indiana University’s high school of continuing studies.