Twelve-year-old Piano Prodigy appearing at Skaneateles Festival

When he has time for typical kid things, Conrad likes to read nonfiction. (He doesn't like fantasy novels except Harry Potter.)

He also goes to movies: "'Spider-Man' was good, but I liked 'Fahrenheit 9/11' better. 'Spider-Man' was a little hard to understand."

Luckily for everyone else, understanding music is no problem for Tao.


Conrad Tao has already established a place for himself in the world of classical music.

Making his official debut at eight years old with the Utah Chamber Music Festival Orchestra playing Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major, he has also performed with numerous other leading orchestras, including the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the California Symphony and the Corpus Christie Symphony Orchestra.

Conrad is also a gifted composer whose work has been performed by professional orchestras. He has earned recognition for his compositions since the age of seven, winning the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In February 2007, his new composition, "Duet for Erhu and Violin," a commissioned work by the Art Institute of Chicago, had its world premiere at the Institute's Midwest Meets East concert. His work has also been featured on the Chicago's WFMT and National Public Radio's From the Top and Performance Today.

Incredibly, Conrad Tao is an award-winning violinist as well. After winning the 2003 Walgreens National Concerto Competition, he performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with the Midwest Young Artists Concert Orchestra at age 8. He is a recipient of the Stradivari Society violin for the past three years and currently plays a 7/8 size Gagliano violin, built in 1750.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at the First Presbyterian Church in Skaneateles, Conrad Tao will take part in a special Behind the Scenes: Musical Mentors pre-concert event, which also includes rising stars the Jupiter String Quintet and Gilbert Kalish and Roger Tapping, revered masters of the piano and viola. During this lively interchange between young and veteran musicians, Tao and the other distinguished artists will demonstrate the unique musical relationships between students and teachers, and explore the traditions through which music is passed down through the generations. Behind the Scenes will be followed by an 8 p.m. concert featuring the Jupiter String Quartet, Kalish, and Tapping (Tao does not perform on this concert).

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