Following a successful debut at London's Wigmore Hall, Niu Niu became the youngest pianist ever to sign an exclusive recording contract with an international classical label - EMI Classics.
Niu Niu is the nickname of Zhang Shengliang, born 11th July, 1997, in Xiamen, Fujian province, China. He showed his talent at the age of three, and received his first lessons from his father.
At five, he began piano lessons at Jimei University. He made his concert debut in August 2003, a few weeks after his sixth birthday. He then moved to Shanghai, where he became the youngest ever student at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, aged eight.
Niu Niu’s knowledge of the piano literature is already wide, and he has a solid repertoire. He has been invited to perform at major festivals and concerts, both in China and abroad.
In August 2006, he gave a recital in London’s Wigmore Hall, and in November 2007 he was invited back to London to perform Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by his coach and mentor Leslie Howard, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
In the summer of 2007 Niu Niu became the youngest pianist ever to sign an exclusive recording contract with an international classical label - EMI Classics.
In July 2008, he released his debut album, “Niu Niu Plays Mozart.”
On 23rd December, 2008, Niu Niu gave a recital at the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts. Further recitals followed in Shanghai, Guangdong, Shenzhen and Dalian.
In July 2009, Niu Niu’s debut CD was released in Japan, and in October he gave his Japanese debut recitals in Osaka (23rd October, Symphony Hall) and in Tokyo (24th October, Suntory Hall). The concerts quickly sold out, and in both halls he became the youngest musician ever to have given a solo recital. In October 2009, Niu Niu attended the Festival der Nationen in Bad Wörishofen, Germany, and performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, K. 271, “Jeunehomme,” with conductor Justus Frantz. Niu Niu was awarded the Festival’s prize “Young Artist of the Year, 2009”. In January 2010, Niu Niu recorded his second CD, and the following month he toured Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Matsumoto, Nagoya, Yokohama), performing to more than 10,000 people.
Niu Niu’s second album “Niu Niu plays Chopin: The Complete Études” (comprising Chopin’s Opp. 10 and 25, and the Trois Nouvelles Études) was released in May, 2010. Niu Niu is the youngest artist in the world, aged twelve, to have recorded all of Chopin’s Études. In the same year of July, this album got the Gold Sales Award in China.
In August 2010, Niu Niu finished his second tour in Japan (Niigata, Osaka, Biwa-ko, Nagoya, Toyama, Chigasaki). He is the first pianist who has 3 concerts within 10 months in Osaka, and all the tickets were sold out.