Edina Zephyrus

Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

Life-long+musician%3A+Zhao+has+been+playing+the+violin+since+she+was+five+years+old.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

Life-long musician: Zhao has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

Life-long musician: Zhao has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

Sophie Charnell

Life-long musician: Zhao has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

Sophie Charnell

Sophie Charnell

Life-long musician: Zhao has been playing the violin since she was five years old.

Alexis Yi, staff writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Bach, Schubert, Kreisler, and Sarasate: all these names fill the repertoire that junior Joyce Zhao, violinist extraordinaire, has under her belt. She has over a decade of musical experience and started entering music competitions in elementary school. Zhao’s been the concertmistress (principal first violin) of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies’ premier Symphony orchestra for almost every semester since the eighth grade.

Zhao started playing when she was five years old, and now her practice volume is robust. When she’s not preparing for a competition, her practice sessions are around one to two hours a day; when a competition is approaching, the sessions are upwards of three hours. Sometimes, Zhao will come to the school at 7:00 AM to use the practice rooms. Her parents used to have to push her, but now they trust Zhao to get the job done. And she does; even when Zhao hits phases where she lacks motivation, she powers through. “I think everyone has those periods. It’s especially hard when you’re being swamped in schoolwork and extracurriculars, but you have a competition coming up,” Zhao said.

Over the years, Zhao’s achievements have been widely recognized. She has won prizes in the Schubert Scholarship Competition, the Thursday Musical Young Artist Scholarship Competition, the Mary West Solo Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Student Competitions. She has played with professional orchestras, starting in the 4th grade with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and most recently with the Minnesota Sinfonia in 2016. As of now, she studies under Sally O’Reilly, Professor of Violin at the University of Minnesota’s School of Music. “She’s the one who pushes me to do all these competitions,” Zhao said. “Whenever something isn’t up to par, she’s not shy about showing it . . . she forces me to apply, which forces me to practice, which forces me to grow.”

Junior Jaehyun Hong has known Zhao since middle school. The two are teammates on Mock Trial and practice together during the Orchwinds rehearsals.“She’s an artist who knows how to phrase the music,” Hong said. “She captivates me every time she plays. To me, that’s what makes her a great musician.

Zhao plays flute in Concert Band, participates in Mock Trial, and takes AP classes. She doesn’t plan to make violin a major or minor in college, but she wants to keep it a hobby. When asked about her goal for the rest of high school, Zhao said she “just [wants to] keep having fun with it.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Contributors
Alexis Yi, staff writer

Alexis has never broken a bone in her life, and lives in perpetual fear of breaking this streak. She also sucks at math, but finds herself in a lot of...

Sophie Charnell, photographer

When she’s not binging Grey's Anatomy for the third time, Sophie is most likely taking photos of everything in sight. She has a tendency to get sick...

Leave a Comment

Zephyrus welcomes and encourages our readers to engage in our content through substantive, respectful exchanges. To ensure our comments meet these standards, Zephyrus reviews all comments before publication and does not allow comments which contain profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs, or personal attacks. Any comments that violate these standards will be removed.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Features

    Students embark to Ecuador

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Activities Director Troy Stein: a day in the life

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Sophomore takes on advanced French horn solos

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Math teacher Noah Franske to teach in Vietnam

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Edina Speech Team ready to talk their way to a State Championship

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    EHS robotics team continued a proud legacy and heads to worlds

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Student Council is not just a stereotypical Disney movie or high school popularity contest

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Features

    Three EHS students use their education to make a difference through tutoring

  • Activities

    Fencing Club works to spread the sport at EHS

  • Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions

    Activities

    The “extra” in extracurricular

Navigate Right
The official student-run news publication of Edina High School.
Violinist Joyce Zhao excels at music competitions