Rising Stars Share Their Musical Journey in Photos

The 2023–24 season's rising star artists share photos from key moments in their careers thus far.
April 18, 2023

Next Stop: Berkeley

Cal Performances has longstanding partnerships and close connections with many world-renowned performers. And while you may be most familiar with the names of those artists currently regarded as living legends, part of the joy in developing these relationships has come from watching these stars grow and evolve over time. Cal Performances is proud to support promising artists throughout their career, which simultaneously serves the performers, who benefit from the opportunity to share their passion and exceptional artistry; our audiences, who are introduced to inspiring artists they “don’t yet know they can’t live without”; and the broader field of performing arts, which is reinvigorated, elevated, and expanded by the fresh perspectives new artists contribute. On the topic of supporting rising stars, Cal Performances executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen said, “One of the best things Cal Performances can do for the arts and arts lovers is to give opportunities to performers and creators early in their careers. I’ve found that, once you provide an opportunity and demonstrate faith, more often than not, your expectations are exceeded.”

Our 2023–24 season features a number of rising-star artists in dance and theater ensembles, in orchestras and chamber groups, and—most substantially in this year’s programming—as featured artists on our recital series. To celebrate their upward trajectory, we’re sharing snapshots of meaningful moments from a few of our rising-star artists’ careers thus far. We hope this scrapbook of sorts will pique your interest concerning the incredible performers making their Cal Performances musical debuts this season!

Tom Borrow, piano

Recently named a BBC New Generation Artist, 23-year-old Israeli pianist Tom Borrow performs Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and Robert Schumann on October 1—the performance that opens Cal Performances’ 2023–24 season.

Tom with legendary pianist Murray Perahia (c.2017). Tom has received Perahia’s mentorship since his teenage years through the Jerusalem Music Centre’s program for Outstanding Young Musicians.

Tom, age 18, backstage on his first international orchestra tour, to Estonia and Lithuania with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (c. 2018). Tom is accompanied by the tour’s conductor, Andres Mustonen. (Later that same year, Tom followed up with a tour of South Korea with the Tel Aviv Soloists.)

Tom, age 19, in his first-ever major performance abroad with a non-Israeli orchestra, in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome under conductor Semyon Bychkov (c. 2020). What was expected to be three performances with orchestra became an audience-less live telecast on Rai Television due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great success and Bychkov invited Tom to reunite with him for Tom’s US debut with the Cleveland Orchestra. (After an unfortunate series of events, Bychkov ended up getting injured ahead of the concerts, so Thierry Fischer stepped in to conduct—another three-concert run that was shortened to a single date due to COVID-19!).

Tom performing at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall (summer 2022). For this, his Proms debut, he played the Ravel Piano Concerto in G major under conductor Martyn Brabbins to much acclaim.

Tom at the prestigious Ruhr Piano Festival (his Germany debut) in 2022, a performance that was received with a standing ovation.
Photo credit: Klavier-Festival Ruhr/Peter Wieler

On his Berkeley debut: “I’m so thrilled and excited to come to Cal Performances, an institution with an incredible international reputation. I wanted to offer a program worthy of the occasion—it’s challenging for the pianist but also a real and profound journey, for me and for the audience. I can’t wait to go on that journey together!”

Tom Borrow, piano

Recently named a BBC New Generation Artist, 23-year-old Israeli pianist Tom Borrow performs Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and Robert Schumann on October 1—the performance that opens Cal Performances’ 2023–24 season.

Tom with legendary pianist Murray Perahia (c.2017). Tom has received Perahia’s mentorship since his teenage years through the Jerusalem Music Centre’s program for Outstanding Young Musicians.

Tom, age 18, backstage on his first international orchestra tour, to Estonia and Lithuania with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (c. 2018). Tom is accompanied by the tour’s conductor, Andres Mustonen. (Later that same year, Tom followed up with a tour of South Korea with the Tel Aviv Soloists.)

Tom, age 19, in his first-ever major performance abroad with a non-Israeli orchestra, in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia of Rome under conductor Semyon Bychkov (c. 2020). What was expected to be three performances with orchestra became an audience-less live telecast on Rai Television due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great success and Bychkov invited Tom to reunite with him for Tom’s US debut with the Cleveland Orchestra. (After an unfortunate series of events, Bychkov ended up getting injured ahead of the concerts, so Thierry Fischer stepped in to conduct—another three-concert run that was shortened to a single date due to COVID-19!).

Tom performing at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall (summer 2022). For this, his Proms debut, he played the Ravel Piano Concerto in G major under conductor Martyn Brabbins to much acclaim.

Tom at the prestigious Ruhr Piano Festival (his Germany debut) in 2022, a performance that was received with a standing ovation.
Photo credit: Klavier-Festival Ruhr/Peter Wieler

On his Berkeley debut: “I’m so thrilled and excited to come to Cal Performances, an institution with an incredible international reputation. I wanted to offer a program worthy of the occasion—it’s challenging for the pianist but also a real and profound journey, for me and for the audience. I can’t wait to go on that journey together!”

Hanzhi Wang, accordion

The first accordionist to join the roster of Young Concert Artists over its more than 60-year history, Hanzhi Wang performs a program on October 15 exploring canonic repertoire by composers including Bach, Saint-Saëns, de Falla, Stravinsky, and Bartók, arranged for the unique instrumentation of Wang’s accordion and her collaborator Avi Avital’s mandolin.

A young Hanzhi demonstrates her early affinity for music.

Hanzhi during the final round with the orchestra at the Castelfidardo International Accordion Competition in Italy, 2015, where she won the first prize in the top category.

Hanzhi joins the Young Concert Artists roster in 2017, becoming the first accordionist in YCA history.

Hanzhi’s debut recital presented by YCA at Carnegie Hall (Zankel Hall, c. 2018).

Hanzhi playing and reflecting on the path to her first solo album.

On her Berkeley debut: “I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to perform at UC Berkeley with Avi Avital this coming fall. The accordion and mandolin are unusual instruments in the classical music world—I hope this new sound will bring you a new and joyful experience!”

Hanzhi Wang, accordion

The first accordionist to join the roster of Young Concert Artists over its more than 60-year history, Hanzhi Wang performs a program on October 15 exploring canonic repertoire by composers including Bach, Saint-Saëns, de Falla, Stravinsky, and Bartók, arranged for the unique instrumentation of Wang’s accordion and her collaborator Avi Avital’s mandolin.

A young Hanzhi demonstrates her early affinity for music.

Hanzhi during the final round with the orchestra at the Castelfidardo International Accordion Competition in Italy, 2015, where she won the first prize in the top category.