Early Years in Shanghai, China
Tingting Yao started learning piano at the age of 3. From this start, Miss Yao went on to win a number of National piano competitions at an early age. These included: Silver Prize at the Shanghai “Tianshan Cup” Piano Competition (1992); First Prize at the “Five Continents Cup” Shanghai Young Pianist Competition (5th division, 1993); and, First Prize at the “Haiman Cup” Piano Competition (Grade 7, 1997). Miss Yao was then selected for the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of 9, where she studied under the guidance of Professors Xiaosheng Zhao and Zijie Wu.
University Years – Tongji University, Shanghai
In 2005, Miss Yao entered the Music Department of Tongji University, Shanghai with the highest mark on the entrance exam. During her 4 years at Tongji University, Miss Yao was selected every year as a participant for the Shanghai International Piano Master Class under the guidance of Professor Minduo Li. Miss Yao was also involved in numerous of concerts and served as a soloist as well as an accompanist for singers, instrumentalists and university choirs. Highlights included close collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); the offer of a fully paid scholarship to Central Michigan University (declined); and, her highly acclaimed performance of Mozart’s “Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K.382”with the German Baden-Württemberg Symphony Orchestra for Tongji University’s 100th Anniversary Concert.
Post-Graduate Experience – Melbourne, Shenzhen and Birmingham
In 2011, Miss Yao graduated from Melbourne University with a Master of Music (performance/teaching) degree. Subsequently, Miss Yao was selected from the pianists all over the world to work at Lang Lang’s Music World in Shenzhen, China. As this was Lang Lang’s first piano school for gifted young pianists, Miss Yao and her students benefited from close collaboration and feedback from Lang Lang himself. Besides teaching, Miss Yao was an active musician performing frequently in Shenzhen, China. Highlights included the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra for Lang Lang’s “Love, Together” charity concert and a highly successful concert with a trumpet player of the China National Symphony Orchestra. Tingting worked closely with the Music Faculty of Shenzhen University and had chamber music concerts regularly with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in the Shenzhen Concert Hall such as the “Saturday Music Afternoon Tea” & “Beautiful Sunday” programmes as well as the classical music concert series in the Bao’an and LoHuo Concert Halls. During this period, Miss Yao actively sought out and collaborated with musicians who worked across a wide variety of instruments including string, woodwind and percussion.
Since September 2014, Miss Yao has been pursuing her music dream in England where she gained a Master’s Degree at Birmingham Conservatoire in 2015 graduating with distinction in piano accompaniment. She also received: the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust Award (DMMT); the Renna Kellaway Piano Recital Prize; and, the Beryl Chempin Beethoven Prize for Pianists. As an accompanist, she shared first place in the Andrew Downes Prize; Winifred Micklam Prize; Birmingham Conservatoire Strings Prize; BC Percussion Prize; and, the Ambache Prize for the performance of music by Woman Composers; as well as second prize in the Delia Hall Accompanist Prize for Pianists. In September 2015, Miss Yao went on to study for her Advanced Postgraduate Diploma (Professional Performance) with John Thwaites, Julian Jacobson and Pascal Nemirovski with a full scholarship. She continues to flourish and is in high demand as a collaborative pianist and a chamber musician in the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Ms.Yao is now a staff pianist at University of Memphis, Tennessee.