Born in Hangzhou, China, Qian Zhou had her early training at the Shanghai Conservatory, winning first prize in the China National Competition in 1984. In 1985, she went to the United States where she completed her studies with Berl Senofsky at the Peabody Conservatory.
At the age of 18, Qian Zhou received instant world-wide recognition with her brilliant triumph at the 1987 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, breaking all precedent in the competition’s 50-year history by winning the First Grand Prize and all five major prizes. Her victory and the international attention it drew enabled her immediate access to the major halls and performing opportunities around the globe.
For more than twenty years, she has been a frequent recitalist and soloist with orchestras in Europe, United States, Asia and Africa. Past engagements include concerts with the Baltimore Symphony and Chamber, Beijing Central Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish, Bournemouth Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, National Orchestra of Ile de France, New Japan Philharmonic , Osaka Symphony, Rome Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Spanish National, Taipei Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestras amongst others while recital highlights include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Centre, Royal Festival Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Vienna Concert Hall.
Qian Zhou’s ten CDs with the Naxos, Hugo and Hungaraton labels have embraced a wide range of repertoire from Bach to Bartok to also drawn praise of the highest calibre.
As the founding Head of Strings at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, she has combined her very active performance career with a passion for teaching which has now received equivalent high-level endorsement to that of her playing. With students already achieving considerable international success in Europe, Asia, America and Australasia, she is in much demand world-wide for masterclasses and as a participant in international juries.
Since 2014, Qian Zhou serves the chair of artist committee of Singapore International Violin Competition and artist director of Singapore Violin Festival.
Qian Zhou plays a 1757 J.B. Guadagnini, generously loaned by Mr and Mrs Rin Kei Mei.