Performing Arts Department Chair
Name: Michael Gend
Office: PAB 3539
Phone: (818) 710-2268
Music Faculty Advisor
Name: Wendy Mazon
Office: MUS 3403A
Phone: (818) 710-2295
Applied Music Instructor
Alexander Zhu, Composition and Piano
Los Angeles based composer and performer Alexander Zhu transitions seamlessly between the worlds of classical and popular music. He has performed music of every genre and setting in venues across the globe, and is an established composer for film and television. His work can be heard on Netflix, Disney+, Cartoon Network and TF1 (France).
Alexander is the Music Director at ZAG Entertainment, where he writes music for television shows including Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, Zak Storm, and Power Players. He is the lead composer and music for editing for the upcoming Miraculous feature film.
Alexander serves on the composition and performance faculty of Pierce College and the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and served as a lecturer in the Keyboard Studies Department during his studies. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from New England Conservatory in Boston and is the recipient of NEC’s Tourjée Alumni Scholarship and Thornton’s Distinguished Graduate Award. He attended the Aspen Music Festival on fellowship.
An avid proponent of new music, Dr. Zhu performed as keyboardist on the viral Yeethoven Kanye West/Beethoven mashup concert series, appearing in media outlets such as the USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Reuters, and Agence France Presse. He has also performed with contemporary music ensembles Thornton Edge and nec shivaree, performing compositions of established composers and works of student composers. He has premiered numerous works, including Brett Dean’s Three Memorials at Aspen, Andrew Norman’s Try and Marc Anthony Turnage’s Passchendale at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. An expert in minimalism, he has performed the music of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams in concert halls, art museums and nightclubs, has presented lecture-recitals on the performance practice of minimalism and pioneered new analytical techniques for the style.
Alexander is the principal keyboardist of the Downey Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as the principal keyboardist of and the American Youth Symphony, the YMF Debut Orchestra, Boston’s Discovery Ensemble and the New England Conservatory Orchestras, with whom he played over 100 concerts. He has performed with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. Alexander served as the principal keyboard of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, where he worked alongside principal players from the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony. He has collaborated with soloists such as Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Sarah Chang, Midori and Gil Shaham, and performed under conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, and Robert Spano. He has appeared on several film scores, including The Harvest (2013), directed by John McNoughton, as well as on radio programs on NPR, WGBH, KUSC and LACMA’s Sundays Live. He toured China as piano soloist and principal keyboardist with Los Angeles Film Symphony, performing in 15 cities across the country.
Dr. Zhu is an enthusiastic educator of piano, music theory and composition. He was a featured presenter at the MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and has been published in the California Association of Professional Music Teacher’s CAPMT Connect. He is a member of MTNA and MTAC, and serves as the President of the USC MTNA Chapter. His students have been accepted to music programs across the country, including MIT, USC and UCLA.
Meet Dr. Alexander Zhu: