Lin Xu-Zhang: Rising Star - Cranbrook School

Lin Xu-Zhang: Rising Star

01 Jun 17 by Cranbrook Communications

Last week Lin Xu-Zhang, Year 11, was announced as the winner of the 2nd prize of the II Rising Stars Grand Prix – International Music Competition Berlin, whilst representing Australia. This is the highest placement ever achieved by an Australian in the competition’s history. Over 140 musicians from over 40 countries, including musical supergiants: Russia, Germany, Ukraine and the United States of America, participated in the competition, all of whom had to face a star-studded six-member jury panel chaired by the critically acclaimed German pianist, Caroline Fischer.For his part, Lin performed Franz Liszt’s notoriously difficult piano composition, Hungarian Rhapsody No.12 in C-sharp minor, S244/12. The piece, which Lin first performed at this year’s Scholars’ Recital, is much feared even by many virtuoso pianists, with Lin labelling the piece as the “ultimate finger-breaker”. Describing why this particular piece is so staggeringly challenging, Lin explains that pianists often have to reach almost “ridiculously breakneck” speeds that are virtually unseen in any other pieces of the piano repertory, as evidenced by particular sections of the music where both hands have to coordinate and carve out close to thirty notes per second. Its gruelling test of high-ignition virtuosity is a blatant understatement, however, as performers also face a fiendish test of expressing musicality throughout. Nevertheless, Lin only took three weeks to learn this piece.

The hours of practice that Lin put in ahead of the competition amounted between six to eight hours a day during weekends and in the holidays, yet these labours are far from a chore for Lin. He has studied piano since five years of age and is currently studying under one of Australia’s most respected pianists, Clemens Leske (who, himself, had also performed Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 at the same age as Lin). Lin has formerly studied at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory (Russia) under Professor Irina Plotnikova, winner of the first Sydney International Piano Competition in 1977, and the Juilliard School (USA) under Prof. Matti Raekallio. Now that Lin is entering his HSC years, he is starting to think beyond the School gates of further study options, and Music will undoubtedly feature in those plans.

Lin is also an acclaimed violinist who currently studies under Professor Alice Waten and Dr. Evgeny Sorkin. He currently chairs the first violin position of the School’s premier ensemble, Cranbrook String Quartet, and holds the role of concertmaster in the orchestra, having done so since 2014. Congratulations Lin on your fantastic achievement.