St. Thomas More student Jenny Zhang has been playing with the Dover Symphony Orchestra for about a year, and during its Sunday, Nov. 21, Young People's Concert she'll be in the spotlight as a soloist. Zhang talked to us about music, her pasttimes and future plans a few days before the show.


Jenny Zhang has been playing violin for five years and has already landed a solo with the Dover Symphony Orchestra. The St.Thomas More junior has been playing with the group for about a year, and was selected as its Youth Concerto Competition winner. She will perform the second movement of Haydn’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G major at the group’s Young People’s Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. Zhang talked to the Dover Post about music and more before the show.

Q How long have you been playing violin, and why did you start playing?
A I have been playing violin for about five years now. Unfortunately, the reason why I started playing violin is exceptionally unremarkable: Upon the entrance of my middle school, all students were required to pick a performing arts class. Obviously, I chose orchestra. Not knowing too much about any of the other instruments, I decided, on a whim, to learn violin. After my interest for the instrument grew, I started private lessons in eighth grade, and everything just progressed from there.

Q Does anyone in your family have a musical background?
A None of my parents or grandparents have ever played an instrument, but my younger sister, Jessica, 9, is taking piano lessons, and I have a few cousins learning several miscellaneous instruments as well.

Q Do you play any other instruments?
A Yes, I also play the piano. I have been taking private lessons since I was seven years old, and, as strange as it seems, I like to play piano much more than I like to play violin.

Q You’ll be playing the second movement of the Haydn Violin Concerto No. 2 in G major. Had you played this piece before?
A I have worked on this piece for quite some time with my violin teacher, Stefan Xhori, and I have performed this only once before, at a student recital.

Q What do you enjoy doing besides playing violin?
A I love playing piano, reading, playing volleyball, going on the computer, watching movies and hanging out with friends. It’s so cliché, isn’t it?

Q What music do you listen to in your spare time?
A I can really listen to anything playing on the radio, but I enjoy listening to classical music, especially from the Romantic Period. I also like to listen to artists like John Mayer and Jason Mraz.

Q What are your future goals? Would you like to continue to play as a profession?
A I am planning on going to medical school and becoming a doctor, but I am also very reluctant to let go of music. I am currently considering on pursuing a double degree (a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Music degree), and am looking into programs.

Q What composers’ works do you most enjoy playing?
A On the violin, I love to play “Meditation from Thaïs” by Jules Massenet, and J.S. Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins.” On the piano, I love to play Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op.9 No.2, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and “Arabesque No.1,” and Beethoven’s “Sonata Pathetique.” I also want to learn Chopin’s “Black Keys Etude” and his “Fantasie Impromptu.” I also love listening to these composers, as well as Liszt, Shostakovich and Mahler.