Colorado State University-Pueblo may not be the biggest or the highest ranked university in the nation, but it is not without its extraordinary people.
One such person is Li “Lily” Zhang, a visiting vocal professor and one of China’s top ten soprano singers.
Zhang first started performing and singing at the age of three, and since then has spent 30 years balancing being a vocal professor and performing on stage. She has studied under voice and music master Martile Rowland since 1999 when Zhang was at Colorado College as a visiting professor.
Zhang’s accomplishments include being the first Chinese soprano at the 81st Hollywood Bowl Easter Sunrise Service, the first Chinese soprano to sing at the President of the Czech Republic’s New Year’s Concert in Prague, the first Chinese voice professor to receive doctorates from William Penn University and Lincoln Christian University, and the first soloist to have her solo recital at the China National Grand Theater in Beijing.
Zhang has also performed at the Great Wall, at the Lincoln Center in New York and other venues around the world. One of the roles that she is best known for playing is the role of Fanyi, in the musical Thunderstorm at the Shanghai Opera House.
Over 1.3 billion Chinese people have seen Zhang’s performances, concerts, operas, festivals and recitals. She has also been featured on CCTV’s Channel 4, an international station that is shown all over the world.
Zhang came to CSU-Pueblo in 2013 and is scheduled to remain a visiting professor until 2014. She will be performing in her first concert at the university on Oct. 11, in the Hoag Recital Hall at 7 p.m.
Zhang said she is excited for her performance, because it is her first solo recital at CSU-Pueblo, and because three of her students, Wenjun Liu, Luole Ziang and Shuo Wang, will be singing with her.
Roy Sonnema, Music Department Chair David Volk, Jacob Chi and Zhang’s own vocal coach Martile Rowland are expected to be in the audience for her first performance.
Zhang also expects many of her good friends to attend, and feels happy and lucky to have so many people come out to support her.
For Zhang, there is no greater joy than singing and filling her life with music.
“My life belongs to music and singing. I was singing on the stage from three years old in China, my whole life only to do two things: singing on stage and teaching in the conservatory of music. I think it’s God give me talent of singing for make many people happy,” Zhang said.
Zhang’s concert is free and open to the public.