CONRAD TAO has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer and has been dubbed a musician of “probing intellect and open-hearted vision” by The New York Times, a “thoughtful and mature composer” by NPR, and “ferociously talented” by TimeOut New York. In June of 2011, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education named Tao a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year, Tao was named a Gilmore Young Artist and in May of 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Tao begins his 2018/19 season with the world premiere of his composition, Everything Must Go, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic. Tao also inaugurates Nightcap, a new series at the New York Philharmonic, joined by dancer-choreographer Caleb Teicher and Charmaine Lee for a late-night concert of multidisciplinary performances.
Tao makes his LA Opera debut in the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s new work, the loser, where he plays the onstage role of the apparition and memory of Glenn Gould. In January 2019, Tao and dancer-choreographer Caleb Teicher continue to develop More Forever, their evening-length multidisciplinary work which explores American vernacular dance traditions, as part of Guggenheim’s Works & Process series.
Tao continues to perform concertos with orchestras around the world, including a return to the Swedish Radio Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Antonio Pappano. Conrad also performs duo chamber music concerts with violinist Stefan Jackiw, including a debut performance at 92Y, ensemble engagements with the JCT Trio in Seoul, South Korea; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Interlochen, Michigan, as well as solo recital programs.
This season comes after his Lincoln Center recital debut, a residency with the Utah Symphony, and debut engagements with the Atlanta Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, and return engagements with the Berner Symphoniker, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Verdi Milano, and the Malaysian Philharmonic. Last season, Tao performed in his own recital and composed a new work for Paul Huang and Orion Weiss at Washington Performing Arts Society and opened the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra’s season with the world premiere of a newly commissioned work, Over. Additionally, Tao developed a multimedia work, Ceremony, with vocalist Charmaine Lee.
In June of 2013, Tao kicked off the inaugural UNPLAY Festival at the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, which he curated and produced. That month, Tao, a Warner Classics recording artist, also released Voyages, his first full-length album for the label, declared a “spiky debut” by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross. His next album, Pictures, slotted works by David Lang, Toru Takemitsu, Elliott Carter, and Tao himself alongside Mussorgsky’s familiar and beloved Pictures at an Exhibition.
Tao’s career as composer has garnered eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and the Carlos Surinach Prize from BMI. In the 2013/14 season, while serving as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s artist-in-residence, Tao premiered his orchestral composition, The world is very different now, commissioned in observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Most recently, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia commissioned a new work for piano, orchestra, and electronics, An Adjustment, which received its premiere in September 2015 with Tao at the piano.
Tao was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1994. He has studied piano with Emilio del Rosario in Chicago and Yoheved Kaplinsky in New York, and composition with Christopher Theofanidis.