At age 27, Conrad Tao has emerged as a leader of the new generation of classical music, giving the genre a hearty dose of energy and adventure balanced with a mature, thoughtful, and thought-provoking approach. The award-winning pianist and composer performs at the Moss Arts Center Friday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Tao will perform John Adams' “China Gates,” Bach's “Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue,” Jason Eckardt's “Antennaria plantaginifolia, Pussytoes,” Robert Schumann's “Kinderszenen,” Fred Hersch's “Pastorale” (dedicated to Schumann), and Beethoven's Piano Sonata in A-flat Major, op. 110. The evening will also include "Keyed In,” a new work by Tao commissioned in part by the Moss Arts Center.

Called a musician of "probing intellect and open-hearted vision" by The New York Times, Tao has amassed a steady stream of awards and critical acclaim for his performances, compositions, and recordings. The former prodigy received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was named a Gilmore Young Artist — an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists. As a composer, he was the recipient of a 2019 New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for "Outstanding Sound Design/Music Composition" for his work on “More Forever,” his collaboration with dancer and choreographer Caleb Teicher.

Tao recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Boston Symphony, and was the focus of a series of concerts and interviews with the Finnish Radio Symphony, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 4 with Hannu Lintu and Andrew Norman’s “Suspend” with Sakari Oramo live on television. After his debut with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, his return date was canceled due to COVID; instead he was invited to give a streamed recital in its “Great Performers” series, where he played works by Felipe Lara, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Tania León, David Lang, and Beethoven.

While most 2020-2021 season performances were canceled, Tao appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langrée and returned to the Seattle Symphony to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 4. He also performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Following “More Forever,” Tao and Teicher teamed up again for their latest collaboration commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim. “Rhapsody in Blue” kicked off the Guggenheim’s return to in-person performances and was lauded by the New York Times as "monumental." The duo also gave the inaugural virtual recital of the season for Concerts from the Library of Congress.

This performance is supported in part by a gift from Ruth M. Waalkes and Jeffrey C. Cole.

Related engagement events

Experience Tao’s approach to piano instruction during a master class for Virginia Tech music students on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. Held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, the event is free and open to the public. Online registration is required.

Tao will also meet with Virginia Tech music students for a discussion about performance, composition, and life as a touring musician.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performance are $20-45 for general public and $10 for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

The Moss Arts Center adheres to the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Tech in its operations, including protocols for face coverings and cleaning and sanitation. In accordance with current university policy for indoor events, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the Moss Arts Center are required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. 

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street for $5. Payment must be made in cash at the time of entry. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jonathan Boulter at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours.

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