Professor Peter Shi-Xiang Zhang was born in Beijing, China and graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1956. He was a Violin Professor at the Shanghai Conservatory from 1956 until his retirement in 1995. He has contributed to the raising standard of violin performance and training of young violinists in China through his introduction of new ideas on the art of violin playing and his translations of many books on violin performance into the Chinese language.
The outstanding results of his violin teaching have resulted in many awards being presented to him. The late Lord Menuhin described him as “one of the greatest teachers in the world”. He was awarded a certificate for outstanding teaching by the Shanghai Conservatory in 1985 and a similar award for excellence in teaching by the Art and Literature Association of Shanghai awarded him in 1986. The Chinese Central Government awarded him the highest honour for his excellent work in violin teaching in China in 1994. In 1995 he was selected by the Bao-Gang Educational Foundation as the best teacher and by Shanghai Government to be in “THE TOP TEN OF 1995”.
Professor Zhang has been a juror in many International violin competitions, including The Bach International Competition in Leipzig in 1988, The Wieniawski Competition in Lublin, Poland in 1988, 1994; 1997 and 2000; The International Violin Competitions in Schontal, Germany in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1995; The Yehudi Menuhin Competition in England in 1995，1998 and 2000; The Novosibirsk Competition in Russia in 1995, 1998 and 2001；The Krakow Competition in Poland in 1996. He has also been a member of the jury at the China National Violin Competitions.
He has published Chinese translations of many violin books, including “THE WAY THEY PLAY” by Samuel Applebaume, “The Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching” by Ivan Galamian, “The Science of Violin Playing” by Raphael Bronstein, “A New Approach To Violin Playing” by Kato Havas and “Conversations With Yehudi Menuhin”, “How to Practice the Violin”, “The Great Cellists” and “The Great Violinists” by Margaret Campbell.
As a visiting professor of violin, he has given master classes all over the world, including the United States, Australia and Germany. His Students have been successful in International violin competitions including first and third prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition in England in 1983, first prize in 1985 and third prize in 1987, third prize in 1992, first prize in 1998, 4th prize in 2000. His students also won first and third prize in the Wieniawski Competition in Lublin, Poland in 1985, and fourth prize in 1994, second and fourth prizes in 1997, second prize in 2000, two first prizes in 4th International Competition in Kloster Schontal, Germany in 1992, third and fifth prize in 1995, two 4th prizes in 1997, third prize in 1999, first and third prize in Russia in 1995 and second prize in Russia in 1998, first prize in Krakow, Poland Competition in 1996. Second prize in Gisborne Competition, New Zealand in 1997, the second and third prize in 1998. 2nd prize in 2000. 2nd prize in 2nd Yampolsky Competition in 1999.
In September 1995, Professor Zhang and his pianist wife Hu Jian-ming immigrated to Australia under the “distinguished talent” category. He is at present a violin lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Institute of Music. Since he arrived in Australia, his students in Australia have been successful in both national and international competitions and awards, including the ABC Young Performer Award and the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition.