Biography

‘One to watch,’ as we said last issue after this Chinese guitarist released his debut recital of Bach, Scarlatti, and others on Naxos. TY, as he’s known, was five when he was first learnt the guitar…” 

-BBC Music Magazine

His [Zhang] playing is always tasteful and deeply expressive without any exaggeration. He takes his place as one of the finest of this emerging generation of magnificent artists.

—American Record Guide

The highlight of TY Zhang’s international career was the Grand Prize of the 2017 Guitar Foundation of American International Concert Artist Competition (GFA-ICAC), known as the most prestigious guitar contest in the world. TY become the first Chinese to be honored with this prize. His win was followed by a tour with over 50 concerts in the U.S., including his Carnegie Hall debut. In 2018, TY released his solo album with Naxos company as the Laureate Series · Guitar Recital. It was praised as: “one of the most talented young players... I’m struck by the extraordinary levels of mastery, comfort and relative ease.” —Classical Guitar Magazine. Most recently, TY and violinist Strauss Shi have been awarded the Winner and Audience Prize at the 2023 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York as ArcoStrum, becoming the first-ever violin-guitar duo to win in its competition's 72-year history.

In addition to his GFA win, TY has received First Prizes awards around the world’s top competitions in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., including the Alexander Frauchi International Competition of Russia, the Changsha International Guitar Competition of China, the Schadt String Competition in the US, Austria’s Forum Gitarre Wien International Youth Competition, as well as the GFA Youth International Competition.

As a performing artist, TY has given concert tours and masterclasses throughout the world, including Sydney, Australia; Belgrade, Serbia; Vienna, Austria; St. Petersburg, Moscow, Obninsk, Bryansk, Nizhniy-Novgorod, and Kaluga of Russia; Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto of Japan; Beijing, Tianjin, Hong Kong, Macao, Changsha, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Kunming and Chongqing of China; and over 50 cities of the United States. He was featured on multiple international radios and Television shows, including Russia’s NIKA-TV and GUBERNIYA-TV and New York’s WQXR’s Greene Space & New York Guitar Festival’s Tribute to Julian Bream performance series.

As the appointed US International Director of the China Guitar Teacher Association (CGTA), TY was a member of the McCabe teaching fellowship in The Juilliard School, introducing the classical guitar to young audiences as artists and educators. TY has produced teaching lessons on platforms such as Tonebase Guitar, GFATV, and Guitar Era China. TY Zhang is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts teaching assistant at the University of Southern California, offering individual lessons and group classes, and ensemble coaching.

TY Zhang showed his talent since young. He was called the “Little John Williams” at the age of eight by the two influential German guitar masters—The Amadeus Duo, at a masterclass in Beijing. Born in Hebei, a place south of Beijing in China, TY was introduced to a variety of things under the influence of his father, including swim, Chinese Kongfu, Erhu, violin, keyboard, and the classical guitar at the age of five and he liked to play the guitar the most. When he turned seven, TY was introduced to Professor Chen Zhi, whom he studied with at the Music School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. It was a masterclass that bridged him with Professor Sharon Isbin, with whom he pursued Bachelor and Master of Music degree with at The Juilliard School in New York. TY is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a DMA Teaching Assistant under Professor William Kanengiser at the University of Southern California.

TY enjoys photography, videography, road cycling, surfing, and traveling.

…He gave an astonishing performance and distinguished himself immediately as a guitarist to reckon with for the outstanding quality of his performance and his level of musicianship. Tengyue is without a question one of the finest guitarists in the world today. He is a consummate artist. He plays with a wonderful mixture of sounds, projects extremely well and has a fine sense of style.” 

- René Izquierdo, 2021

Jang Dong Ye (Russian Spelling for Zhang, Tengyue) is a new generation musician… we have before us a great guitarist with impeccable technique. I think he will glorify his homeland.

-Guitar World Festival (Russia), 2018

Every GFA convent is a wonderful banquet of state-of-the-art guitar playing, but there are always things that stand out. It did not take long to find the first gem. Tengyue Zhang, last year’s Rose Augustine Grand Prize winner, opened the week and immediately demonstrated the rightness of that decision with a wonderful performance…was illuminated by his expressivity and gorgeous use of tone color.” 

-Al Kunze, Soundboard Magazine, 2018

Zhang’s virtuosic bursts of strumming and rapid scale passages seemed to flash across the work’s canvas like beams of sunshine in the vibrant opening allegro. But it was in the extraordinary beauty of the central adagio where his artistry really shone. His gentle vibrato and carefully turned trills brought out all the exquisite anguish of the music.

-Steve Siegel, The Morning Call, March 2018

Tengyue Zhang is one of the most extraordinary students I have ever taught. Zhang’s pioneering work as a classical guitarist has earned him a reputation… in the Performing Arts. He is a highly regarded professional in his field today, and his influence has had major significance through his outstanding recordings, performances, teaching and premiering of groundbreaking new works written for him.”

— Sharon Isbin, Founding Director of Guitar Department, The Juilliard School

Concerts

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center

Madison, GA

Music for Autism (Virtual)

New York, NY

Howland Chamber Music Circle

Beacon, NY

…TY’s [Tengyue Zhang’s] range is fully explored again on the next track, “Variations on a theme by Scriabin” by Tansman, where he carefully navigates the melodic lines, and perfectly delivers the various motifs in the lower register. Throughout the Tedesco Caprices he enhances his range through carefully planned and effective use of rest strokes, achieving exceptional volume along with wonderfully full and rich tone. TY finishes with works from two of the greatest classical guitar composers of our time…, which are both performed with equal mastery.”

— Timothy Smith, Minor 7th, September 2018

Discography

Tengyue Zhang - FULL CONCERT - CLASSICAL GUITAR - Live From St. Mark's, SF - Omni Foundation

TY Tengyue Zhang plays Chaconne from BWV 1004 by J.S.Bach Guitar Masters 2016

John Williams' "Schindler's List" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 1912 Enrique Garcia

Caprichos De Goya No. 18: El Sueño de la Razón Produce Monstruos by M. Tedesco - Tengyue Zhang

TY Tengyue Zhang plays Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo

Variations on a Theme by Scriabin by Alexandre Tansman - Tengyue Zhang

Marco Pereira's "Frevo" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 2008 Pepe Romero

Domenico Scarlatti's "Sonata, K53" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 2003 Greg Smallman

TY Zhang – 'Aquarelle' by Sérgio Assad

Roland Dyens "Tuhu (Hommage to Villa-Lobos)" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 2003 Greg Smallman

Jean-Philippe Rameau's "Les Sauvages" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 2020 Carlos Juan Busquiel

Sergio Assad's "Valseana" performed by Tengyue "TY" Zhang on a 2017 Jose Vigil

2017 Guitar Foundation of America ICAC winner Tengyue Zhang (a.k.a. “TY”) is definitely one of the most talented young players I’ve come across during my nearly four years as editor of Classical Guitar. I don’t usually like to apply the adjective “effortless” to guitar playing, …however, every time I hear TY play, I’m struck by the extraordinary level of comfort and ease that his total mastery of his program communicates. And that is true on this Guitar Recital album, …he manages to imbue every single work with tremendous personality, power, and nuance. He handles the trills and the tricky counterpoint of the Scarlatti sonata (which he arranged) as if it was made to be played on the guitar; his Chaconne (again, his own arrangement) digs deeply into its drama, its shadows, and its contrasts to reveal some new colorations; …this album is certain to be on my Top 10 list at year’s end; what a fantastic way to spend 63 minutes!”

— Blair Jackson, Classical Guitar Magazine, June 2017

Contact

For Bookings, Teaching, and Direct Inquiries

Tengyue Zhang, DMA
tengyue@usc.edu