Pianist, 16, jumps in for deceased star

Pianist, 16, jumps in for deceased star


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2022

The Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze was supposed to be playing Prokofiev’s 3rd concerto at the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra but died unexpectedly last week.

A girl of 16, Harmony Zhu, stepped in at 24 hours’ notice.

A person present tells Slippedisc.com: ‘I was in the audience and our jaws dropped when we heard Zhu’s incredible sensitivity and maturity as well as dazzling flawless technique. Zhu brought the house down with a long standing ovation.’

Here’s Harmony in a recent recital:


  • Amy Boney Carrot says:

    Harmony plays Melodie. Nice.

  • Tancredi says:

    Just as well the name Harmony appears to suit her.

  • Itai Pereira says:

    I cannot imagine anyone stepping in with Prokofiev 3 within just 24 hours. And she seems to be a chess champion too.

  • Robert says:

    I couldn’t find a video of her playing the Prokofiev, but her Beethoven 2 with the Israel Philharmonic when she was 12 was astounding.


  • Tobias says:

    I first saw this young lady with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a season opening concert five or six years ago. I was speechless. She is the real deal. I have followed her career ever since and it looks like she is really going places.

  • Noam Bensoussan says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated, Norman. Just found this of her playing Rach 2 at 13, a truly remarkable artist already.


    The Illinois audience was in for quite a treat!

  • guest says:

    Congrats to her. She stepped in at very short notice – on May 12 the orchestra still had to announce the replacement for the concert on May 14.