Zhai Yaoguang is currently principal clarinet of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Zhai, as a soloist, has played with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra (CA), the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (AL), the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra (Aspen) and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MO). He appeared on the National Radio show “From the Top,” the worldwide broadcast of the television program ‘Hour of Power’ with Robert Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral.
As chamber and orchestral clarinetist, Zhai was the Principal Clarinetist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony in C (NJ). He has worked with many world-class conductors such as Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Michael Tilson Thomas and Alan Gilbert.
A native of Taiyuan, China, Zhai began his musical career at the age of three on the violin, switching to the clarinet seven years later. In 1999 he entered the China Central Conservatory, then arrived in the United States in 2003 and was accepted on full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild California, studying with Mr. Yehuda Gilad, professor of the Colburn School and USC. Zhai graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2009, studying with Mr. Donald Montanro, former associate principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Ricardo Morales, current clarinet principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra.