Conrad Tao | Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

24-year-old pianist and composer Conrad Tao already has a pretty impressive resume. He won eight consecutive ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, he is a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a Davidson Fellow Laureate, and a Gilmore Foundation Young Artist. He was the only classical artist named by Forbes magazine in 2011 as one of the “30 Under 30” in the music industry. (He was 17 at the time.) Tao makes his LA Phil debut with Gustavo Dudamel performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in May, filling in for Lang Lang who is recovering from tendinitis. On February 22, Tao made his LA Opera debut in David Lang’s The Loser. Listen to his wide-ranging conversation with me in which he discusses both of these appearances, how he doesn’t remember the first time he played the piano, the social/relational side of making classical music with others, and why he believes liking or not liking music misses the entire point of music.

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