Playing the violin as a child was a given for Nancy Zhou.
Her parents moved to San Antonio from China so her father could play with the San Antonio Symphony and as a violin instructor, he insisted that his daughter be among his students. “He thought it was the one thing he could pass down to me, so he started teaching me when I was 4,” says Zhou.
The Keystone School and Harvard graduate didn’t fall in love with the instrument at first. But after years of practice, she went on to become a soloist, playing with YOSA in her early teens, appearing with the San Antonio Symphony and touring in Asia and Europe during college. Now 24, she’ll return this weekend to play in a Sunday concert at San Fernando Cathedral that will also feature other young successful San Antonio musicians. The concert, titled “Child Prodigies: Where Are They Now?,” will open the 20th annual season of Musical Bridges Around the World.
Zhou says her father required that she practice two hours per day when she was young and entered her in her first international competition at 13. “It was that event that sort of kick started my own interest and I started to see music as a means of expression,” says Zhou, who won the 2009 Johansen International Competition.
While her dad encouraged her talent, Zhou says he was also supportive of any career she wanted to pursue. She studied English Literature at Harvard while also continuing violin lessons at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
During Sunday’s concert, she’ll play a few pieces solo and also appear alongside the other featured artists: Daniel Anastasio, a Juilliard graduate and pianist; Veronica Williams, a mezzo-soprano and graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music; and Yvonne Freckmann, a composer and Fulbright recipient who is now in the Netherlands.
Freckmann composed a piece that the group will play on Sunday called “Bridges.” Zhou says the piece is about a homecoming, which is poignant for the musicians as they’re now all based far from San Antonio. Zhou is living in China through the end of the year before heading to Germany to continue her music studies.
Child Prodigies: Where Are They Now?
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, 7-9 p.m.
San Fernando Cathedral, 115 Main Plaza
Admission is free