Canberra-born and Brisbane-grown, Rollin Zhao is a violinist with a funny first name. From 2014-15, he was a musician at Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and returns in 2020 as a third-year musician to further his studies with the violin and to continue working with the newly-formed Islay Piano Trio.
Most recently based in his hometown of Brisbane, he worked with Queensland Symphony Orchestra as a contract tutti first violin throughout 2019. He has also played as a casual musician with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, and took part in an orchestral exchange with the Xi'an Symphony Orchestra under Dane Lam in 2017 and 2019.
Rollin is active as a chamber musician; most recently with the Islay Trio, he took part in the Southern Cross Soloists’ Next Gen Program and gave performances at the Bangalow Festival. During his ANAM years, he was a founding member of the Beren String Quartet and received mentorship from the Tinalley String Quartet as part of their quartet mentoring program in 2015. He has also received mentorship by members of the London Haydn Quartet, St Lawrence String Quartet, Goldner String Quartet, Australian String Quartet, Doric String Quartet, Borodin Quartet, and the Tokyo String Quartet, through various masterclasses and Australian Youth Orchestra Chamber Players programs.
Rollin was a Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellow in 2018, and an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2017. In 2016, he completed his Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours at the University of Queensland, and was a joint recipient of the Music Honours Prize. During his tertiary years, he studied with Adam Chalabi, Robin Wilson, and Spiros Rantos, and will continue with Zoë Black at ANAM in 2020.
Outside of formal violin study, he also takes interest in improvisation and folk music. He is a keen fan of the Danish String Quartet (DSQ), Dreamer's Circus, and the like, and always keeps a copy of the DSQ's Woodworks and Last Leaf albums close by in case the opportunity for a solid jam arises.
Rollin plays a Yanbing Chen violin generously on loan to ANAM from Dr Robin Wilson
Photo by Pia Johnson