Houston Symphony

High School Student Wins Big With Houston Symphony

A conversation with a young pianist who will perform with the Houston Symphony this week.

Joshua Zinn (L) and Stephen Dong (R) talking in studio.
Joshua Zinn (L) and Steven Dong (R) talking in studio.

Steven Dong has been playing piano for about ten years, and hours of hard work seem to have finally paid off with an upcoming performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Houston Symphony this Wednesday. As the Gold Medal winner of the 2016 Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition, Steven will be the featured soloist for the “Salute to Educators” concert, which will also feature musicians from the Houston Youth Symphony playing alongside the professional musicians in the orchestra on music by Mendelssohn and Debussy.

On performing such a challenging piece in the repertoire Steven says, “My piano teacher thought I was up to the challenge… when he gave me the piece he was like, ‘Steven, I have a lot of faith in you. This is a very tough piece, but I think you’re ready to jump to the next level!'” Stephen has studied under John Weems for five years now.

Hear my conversation with Steven above where we talk about his start with piano and other instruments, how he tackled the Rhapsody slightly out of order, and what his prospects for the future are like! 

The Salute to Educators concert is tomorrow night at 7:30 at Jones Hall, free and open to the public.