Junior Guildhall violinist Leia Zhu tonight, Monday 3 June, makes her debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra, becoming the youngest British violinist to perform a concerto with the prestigious ensemble, in the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg. At 12 years old, Zhu performs Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, widely considered one of the most difficult concertos in the repertoire, conducted by Anton Shaburov.
Zhu began playing the violin when she was three and a half years old, having been given a toy instrument. At the age of 4, she made her solo debut at the Last Night of the Proms in Newcastle and toured the region as a soloist with the English Philharmonic Ensemble when she was 5. She began winning international competitions at eight and to date has won the 11th International Competition ‘Young Virtuosos’ in Bulgaria, becoming its youngest participant and also receiving its Grand Prix Award (2015); first prize and youngest winner of the International Russian Rotary Children Music Competition (2015); and first prize (Gold Nutcracker) at the 16th International Television Context for Young Musicians (2015), amongst others.
As a soloist, Leia works with many of the world’s finest orchestras including the National Orchestra of Belgium, Russian National Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra at St Petersburg State Capella, Festival Strings Lucerne, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra. She has also been invited to perform at key festivals in the classical music calendar including Lucerne Festival; Salzburg Festival; MozartFest Würzburg; and Musical Olympus in Russia. Some of the prestigious halls she has performed in include the Royal Festival Hall; Barbican Centre; BOZAR in Brussels and the Berlin Philharmonie.
Currently, Leia is a year 7 pupil at her local secondary school and has been attending Junior Guildhall since the age of eight.
Guildhall School of Music & Drama is provided by the City of London Corporation.