Hao Rao

China I Age 15

Hao Rao grew up in the mountainside town of Jishou, China. Every week, his mother would take him on a 16-hour train ride to his piano lesson; he never tired of the trip and instead saw it as “departing for a great music journey with unknown surprises.” He now attends the Middle School of Xinghai Conservatory of Music in the sprawling city of Guangzhou, but still studies with his teacher of almost seven years, Vivian Li (Suirong). He has won three major national competitions in China, received a prize at the 2018 Ettlingen Competition, and—at the age of 13—presented the complete Chopin etudes in recital. He listens to opera and enjoys reading fiction, playing sports, and sampling desserts.

“I’ve been to several competitions or festivals abroad, and every time it was a life-changing inspiration with unforgettable memories, but the Cliburn Fort Worth… that’s almost like the Vatican for pianists. For me, it almost seems like a fairy tale, and I will treasure every moment of this journey.”