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 (2017) and the MTNA Young Artist Competition (CO, 2009). Pre-pandemic, she was invited to perform concerts and to conduct 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. By the discovery of her real passion for music, she dedicated to music and got admitted to piano performance major at Tianjin Conservatory of Music, China.
Dr. Ji earned degrees and scholarships from the 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 education institutions include the Manhattan School of Music (Professional Studies), New York University (Master of Music), 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, and Svetlana Sokolova. 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 at 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 summer festivals, including the International Holland Music Sessions, Orford Musique, the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Adamant Masterclass Series, Summit Music Festival, and 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 interests in early keyboard repertoire have led her to play the early Baroque compositions on the harpsichord, and participated 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 and elder talented students. Her goal is to help the students to achieve their highest potential through efficient technical practice and musicality inspiration. As an adjunct faculty, she taught applied piano lessons, keyboard harmony and improvisation group lessons at NYU Steinhardt for two years. She also serves on the piano faculty at Rutgers University Community Arts since Mar 2016 and Concordia Conservatory. Her students get distinction in ABRSM exams, 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 who passed the conservatories’ precollege and college auditions such as Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Indiana University–Bloomington, among others.
Dr. Ji relocated to the suburb of Philadelphia with her family in Sep 2021, where she now teaches at the Nelly Berman School of Music. She also teaches private piano lessons at her studio (Euphony Music Studio) and offers virtual music theory class via ZOOM, fundamental, intermediate (focus on the ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory) and advanced level. Her theory students get score with distinction such as 71, 73 out of 75. Besides music, she also likes to playing with her daughter, Claire, and discover beauties around her in daily life, through photography, traveling, food, and fashion.
(Last Updated February 2022)