Multitasking and musicianship: Conrad Tao in Studio A

 

Conrad Tao (left) works with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra during Interlochen Arts Camp 2016.

For many performers, making your way in music is all about finding your niche.

That’s what makes Conrad Tao’s musical multitasking so unique. Tao doubles as both a concert pianist and a composer, with repertoire ranging from Ravel and Rachmaninoff to modern compositions, including his own. Unlike many of his peers, Tao has never felt the pressure to choose one path—in part because he realizes that the choice to pursue composition or performance does not have to be either-or.

“They’ve always felt so linked. I can’t imagine doing just one,” said Tao. “If I were to only do one, my music-making across the board would suffer, and I would feel unfulfilled.”

Tao visited Interlochen Center for the Arts over the summer to perform a solo show and with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. Between rehearsals and master classes, Tao stopped by IPR’s Studio A for an interview and performance with IPR’s own Nancy Deneen.