Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Contact: Nancy Bertossa
(415) 677-0328 or

San Francisco Performances Presents
Z.E.N. Trio

Esther Yoo, Violin
Zhang Zuo, Piano
Narek Hakhnazaryan, Cello

Friday, October 18, 2019, 7:30pm | $70/$55/$45
Herbst Theatre

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—September 25, 2019—San Francisco Performances (SFP) presents the prodigious young musicians Z.E.N. Trio who will be performing a program of works by Schubert, Brahms and Shostokovich on Friday, October 18th, 7:30pm at Herbst Theatre. This is the SF recital debut of Z.E.N. Trio. Cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan made his SF solo recital debut in February 2018, also presented by SFP.

“Now entering our 40th season it has become an expectation of SFP’s audiences to be introduced to the brightest new talent from around the globe. In keeping with that tradition we are thrilled to present the debut of this electrifying trio that was brought together upon the suggestion of talent scouts at BBC Radio 3 for the three New Generation Artists to record Brahms’ Piano Trio No.1 in B major together.” —SFP President Melanie Smith

The Z.E.N. Trio—violinist Esther Yoo, pianist Zhang Zuo, and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan—met on the BBC New Generation Artists’ program in 2015 and have since performed concerts together for BBC radio as well as across the UK and Europe. While the trio’s name, “Z.E.N.” is an acronym for the three artists’ initials, it also represents the philosophy with which they approach chamber music making—the forgoing of the self for total togetherness.

“We had all heard of each other but we had never met before,” recalls violinist Yoo. “We had a really, really great recording session, working together and rehearsing together. After that session, we talked and we wanted to continue working together as a trio. And we all get along personally. We have similar interests, senses of humor. Our rehearsals are all full of laughter. It’s just a really fun time together.”

Esther Yoo first came to international attention in 2010 when, aged 16, she became the youngest prizewinner of the 10th International Sibelius Violin Competition. From 2014 to 2016 she was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, culminating in her BBC Proms debut. Esther plays regular return engagements with Philharmonia Orchestra at London's Royal Festival Hall as well as with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed in tours across Asia and South America. She has worked with conductors such as Vladmir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Pablo Heras-Casado and Osmo Vänskä, and as a recitalist she has performed across Europe and the US, including for New York's Lincoln Center. In spring 2016 Deutsche Grammophon released her Tchaikovsky album with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, following her 2015 debut on the label, featuring the Glazunov and Sibelius concertos.

An imaginative and electrifying pianist, Zhang Zuo (“Zee Zee”) began her musical training in Germany at the age of five. Upon returning to her native China, she became one of the most sought after young artists in the nation, collaborating with leading Chinese orchestras with whom she retains a close link. From 2013 to 2015 she was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. In recent seasons, she has appeared with the BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Cincinnati Symphony, among others. She has worked with leading conductors, including Paavo Järvi, Marin Alsop and Yan Pascal Tortelier and has appeared at festivals such as the BBC Proms and Ravinia Festival. She has also played solo recitals at notable venues around the world including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Lincoln Center in New York, London’s Wigmore Hall and De Doelen in Rotterdam.

Since winning the Cello First Prize and Gold Medal at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011 at the age of 22, Narek Hakhnazaryan has performed with most major orchestras across the globe and has established himself internationally as one of the finest cellists of his generation. From 2014 to 2016 he joined BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme and in August 2016 he made his BBC Proms debut. Narek has performed with orchestras such as the Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Sydney Symphony and NHK Symphony, and with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Mikhail Pletnev, Leonard Slatkin and Tugan Sokhiev. He made a hugely successful debut with the LA Philharmonic (Lionel Bringuier) at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015 and toured Spain with the WDR Symphony (Jukka-Pekka Saraste) in the same year.

When Z.E.N Trio is not together, the trio’s members are scattered throughout Europe. Yoo splits her time between Brussels and London. Zuo is based in Berlin, Hakhnazaryan in Vienna. In the fall of 2017 the trio toured in the United Kingdom and China. Last summer, Z.E.N performed in North America, and this year they are adding more concerts in the U.S.

The evening’s program will be as follows:
SCHUBERT: Notturno in E-flat major, Op. 148, D897
BRAHMS: Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op.8
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op.67

Watch a video:

Tickets are $70/$55/$45 and can be purchased at or by calling 415.392.2545. Tickets can also be purchased at the door as available including 50% off student rush tickets.

About San Francisco Performances

San Francisco Performances has been a leader in the Bay Area cultural scene since our founding in 1979. With a strong curatorial vision and adventurous programming, we are the city’s premier presenter of intimate concerts and solo performances.

We have introduced hundreds of established and emerging classical music, jazz and dance artists to audiences, including Yo-Yo Ma, the Juilliard String Quartet, Philip Glass, Wendy Whelan, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. We also champion a new generation, committed to building a contemporary and equitable repertoire. Performers like violinist Jennifer Koh, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and pianist/composer Vijay Iyer are moving their art into the present and future, making it accessible to younger audiences while converting many traditionalists to new possibilities. They represent the path forward.

Quality, intimacy and connection are the hallmarks of San Francisco Performances. We nurture unique relationships with today’s best artists to create an accessible, warm, and engaging arts experience.

Calendar Editors, Please Note:

(Please include our name as the presenter and check to be sure you have our updated website address—many thanks!)

Z.E.N. Trio

WHEN: Friday, October 18, 2019, 7:30pm
WHERE: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister), San Francisco
CONCERT TICKETS: $70/$55/$45
CONTACT: (415) 392.2545;

For high-resolution images, contact Nancy Bertossa at or go to

# # #