Malaysian pianist Hao Zi Yoh began her musical studies at the age of 3. In Kuala Lumpur, Hao Zi was taught by Chong Lim Ng, one of Malaysia’s finest pianist-composers, who recognised and developed her talent. By the age of eight she was Silver Medallist in the first ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition of 2004 and her love of Chopin persists to this day.
At twelve she was gold medallist of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and performed in New York’s Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. During the same year, her composition Bustling City and Peaceful Suburb was selected to represent Malaysia at the Yamaha APJOC concert. Aged 14, she moved to Germany to study with Prof. Elza Kolodin at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. She became top prize winner in many international competitions including EPTA Belgium, Enschede and RNCM James Mottram. This led to her performing in festivals around Europe, USA, China, Japan and Malaysia and additionally playing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Nova Amadeus and Baleares Symphony orchestras.
In 2014, for her postgraduate studies, she came under the tutelage of Professor Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, London, generously supported by Lynn Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Countess of Munster and Craxton Memorial Trust.
Hao Zi enjoys a form of synaesthesia, where music may evoke colours and imageries which influence her interpretation and production of tone colours. During her postgraduate studies, she has explored her relationship with music by using sound to create imageries, hoping to let the audience to come into the interpreter’s mind: her MMus Project 2016 involved collaborating with percussionist Daniel Gonzalez to create a version of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit for Piano and Percussion. In her 2016 interpretation of A Distant Voice of the Rainforest by her Malaysian teacher Chong Lim Ng, she used extended piano techniques and improvised singing to evoke the soundscape and rich density of a lush Malaysian rainforest. During a performance at Gabriela Montero’s masterclass she caught the attention of former BBC producer, Tom Stanier who invited her to produce a documentary. Another successful collaboration with author-illustrator David Litchfield involved improvising to his reading from his award-winning book The Bear and the Piano.
Hao Zi has enjoyed participating in creative outreach projects both for children and for elderly people with dementia led by the Open Academy in the UK; she has also performed in Music for the Moment Concerts at the Wigmore Hall.
She is a piano tutor at King’s College London and gives masterclasses at Imperial College London. She is a Young Steinway Artist, a musician of Talent Unlimited and the Keyboard Trust London. She has performed in such venues as the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Royal Festival Hall, Salle Cortot, Steinway Hall London, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (Malaysia) and Teatro Quirino (Italy). Numerous awards include 3rd Prize at Roma International Piano Competition and the Phillip Crawshaw Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Musician from Overseas at the Royal Overseas League Competition. In 2017/8 she received the prestigious Martin Musical Scholarship Trust Philharmonia Piano Fellowships as part of the Emerging Artists Programme.
Hao Zi remains close to her heritage and the musical scene in Malaysia. She has given talks, performances and masterclasses to the students of University of Malaya, Bentley Music and Persatuan Chopin, sharing her experiences and advising the next generation of young musicians.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in London, Hao Zi performed on YouTube fundraising for St. Nicholas’ Home for the Blind in Penang, Malaysia. She also performed online in the Henley Festival Digital Edition. She is currently also preparing for the prestigious Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, which has now been put forward to 2021.