Ziming Zhu


Photos by Matt Dine


National Orchestral Institute, 2021–22; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 2022; Hong Kong Sinfonietta, 2016–18; Asian Youth Orchestra, 2015

What is your earliest memory of classical music?

My grandpa playing violin, The Rabbit of Seville of Bugs Bunny, Disney’s Fantasia, and an old cassette of Jascha Heifetz performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto that I found on the bookshelf of my childhood home.

What made you decide to become a musician? Was there a particular performance or person that influenced your decision?

Playing John Williams’ music! I think any brass player can relate to that.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it?

Mahler’s 9th Symphony or any Brahms symphonies. I can always find something new every time I play or listen to them.

If you could play another instrument, what would it be?

Piano or percussion instruments

What is your proudest achievement as a musician?

When an audience member said I gave them goosebumps

Is there a person or people you most respect in your field and why?

Bill Caballero, Gail Williams, and Richard “Gus” Sebring. They inspired me to become not only a better musician but also a better person.

Do you have a favorite non-classical musician or band?

Too many! A few of them in my head right now: Joni Mitchell, Bill Evans, Anita O’Day, and Fleet Foxes.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

A pilot! I love aviation and I have perfect eyesight.

What is a surprising part of playing your instrument that you think most people don’t know?

Blowing air into a brass instrument won’t make any sound. The pitch is created by the buzz stream from the lips. The instrument is just an amplifier.

What advice would you give your younger self or anyone starting out?

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, as long as you are learning from them. Always be kind. Listen more, and trust your ears.