B i o g r a p h y
Pianist Dr. Cong Ji is passionate about engaging her audiences with innovative programming and performances as a recital soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist. She performs regularly in major cities of Asia and the United States. Venues include Weill Hall at Carnegie, New York Steinway Hall, Elebash Recital Hall, Taipei National Recital Hall, and Music Halls of Universities and Conservatories in China. Among other prizes, she won the first prizes in the Pittsburgh International Piano Young Artist Competition and the MTNA Young Artist Competition (Colorado). Pre-pandemic, she was invited to perform concerts and conducted masterclasses at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Yanshan University College of Arts, Henan University College of Music, and music schools and concert venues in Beijing and Xi'an.
Born in an artistic family in Tianjin, China with her mother as an accordionist and her father as a visual artist, Dr. Ji has shown her talents in music and arts at an early age. She began piano studies at age four and made her public debut when she was eight years old. Not going through a normal path like many other Chinese pianists, she went to the top liberal arts school with a focus on science at Tianjin Nankai High School. With the discovery of her real passion for music, she dedicated herself to music and got admitted to the piano performance major at Tianjin Conservatory of Music, China.
Dr. Ji earned degrees and scholarships from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (Doctor of Musical Arts), as a full-tuition fellowship recipient, and her dissertation is titled Chinese Aesthetics and Performance Practice in Three Works for Piano by Chen Yi: Tunes from My Home, Northern Scenes, and Four Spirits. Her other educational institutions include the Manhattan School of Music (Professional Studies), New York University (Master of Music), and University of Northern Colorado (Bachelor of Music). She has been studying with internationally renowned teachers who represent prominent pedagogical schools including those of Asia, Russia, and America. Her principal teachers include Phillip Kawin, Ursula Oppens, Thomas Sauer, Miyoko Lotto, Jose Ramon Mendez, Martin Canin, Svetlana Sokolova, Lv Xiaoliang, Zhang Minzhan, and Chen Yunxian. She has also worked with renowned musicians in masterclass and private studies, such as Pavel Gililov, Robert McDonald, Andre Laplante, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Yin Chengzong, Alexander Kobrin, Boris Slutsky, Douglas Humpherys, HaeSun Paik, Frank Weinstock, Emanuel Krakovsky, Ruth Slenczynska, and Seymour Bernstein.
Dr. Ji has performed in concert series, such as the Music in Midtown Series in New York, Tutte le Corde-Piano Music after 1950, J. S. Bach in the 21st Century, Steinhardt at Saklad, Interstudio Showcase at Loewe Theatre, and the Zimmerli Art Museum. She has also given solo performances and participated in summer festivals, including the International Holland Music Sessions, Orford Musique, the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, the Adamant Masterclass Series, the Summit Music Festival, and the Viena do Castelo Music Festival. Dr. Ji was invited to perform in a masterclass in the documentary film Seymour: An Introduction, directed by Ethan Hawke.
Dr. Ji has a broad spectrum of piano solo and chamber repertoire, both instrumental and vocal music. As an accompanist, she worked with Met Opera singer Jennifer Roderer and her students at Hunter College before leaving New York. Her interest in early keyboard repertoire has led her to play the early Baroque compositions on the harpsichord and participate in the "Rethinking Bach" workshop in Japan (Aug 2018). As a devoted advocate of new music, she has worked on masterworks by Elliott Carter, Frederic Rzewski, Lowell Liebermann, John Corigliano, John Musto, Chinese-American composers Chen Yi and Zhou Long, as well as premiering music by her colleague.
Dr. Ji has taught piano since 2006, and she remains an active piano studio in the Metropolitan New York Area and online teaching across the Pacific. She has inspired many young to elderly talented students. Her goal is to help the students achieve their highest potential through efficient technical practice and musical inspiration. As an adjunct faculty, she taught applied piano lessons, keyboard harmony, and improvisation group lessons at NYU Steinhardt for two years. She also served on the piano faculty at Rutgers University Community Arts 2016–2020. Her students get distinctions in ABRSM exams (Grades 6–8) and won prizes in national and international competitions, which lead them to perform at the prestigious Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City. She also prepared students for auditions to the conservatories' pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate schools such as Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music, and Indiana University--Bloomington, among others.
After eleven years of living in New York City, Dr. Ji moved to the Great Philadelphia area with her family in Sep 2021. Her private teaching studio (virtual and in-person) has been growing with talented and serious students. She also teaches piano lessons, Upper School Music Theory and Music Connections classes, and accompanies the Middle School chorus at Germantown Friends School (No. 1 Private School in PA). In addition, she has taught virtual music theory classes via ZOOM since June 2020, in fundamental, intermediate, and advanced level as tutoring AP Music Theory. Her theory students get scores with distinction such as 71, 73 out of 75 (ABRSM Grade 5 Theory). During her leisure time, she enjoys family time with her daughter, Claire, and her husband. They like to discover beauty in daily life, through photography, traveling, food, and fashion.
(Last updated Jan 2024)