About the Author

“William is extraordinary. His musicality, expressiveness, purity, and poise are remarkable…a major talent with a huge future.”

– Mitchell Sardou Klein, Artistic Director of the Klein International String Competition and Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony.

Award winning eighteen-year-old cellist William Tan has been a student of Hans Jorgen Jensen, Professor of Cello at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, since the age of 9. He began playing at the age of 4 with Sally Gross of the Western Springs School of Talent and Education. Additional influential teachers and collaborative artists include Sihao He, Sooka Wang, and Liang-yu Wang.

William has earned top prizes in numerous international competitions. He was a Finalist in the 2022 Johansen International String Competition and received the Judges’ Commendation Award. He also received Third Prize at the 2021 Klein International String Competition and was awarded the Weiss Prize for Best Performance of the Commissioned Work. Other recent competition wins include Gold Prize at the 2021 Camerata Artists International Competition and First Place at the 2020 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National String Competition. William is both a 2022 and 2023 National YoungArts Foundation Winner in Classical Music. This coming May, he will compete in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a semifinalist in the 2023 Stulberg International String Competition.

William has soloed with numerous orchestras. He performed Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no. 1 in Eb Major with the Dupage Symphony Orchestra, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor with the Camerata Orchestra of New Jersey and the Lakeview Orchestra, and Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and the Kishwaukee Symphony. As a member of the Aster Piano Trio, he won the grand prizes at the 2022 Rembrandt Chamber Music Competition and the 2022 Chicago National Chamber Music Competition Open Division, and his trio advanced to the semifinals of the 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

During summers, he has attended the YellowBarn Young Artist Program, the Orford Music Academy, Music@Menlo, and the Meadowmount School of Music. This past summer, he toured Europe as a musical ambassador for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America.

William has been a featured guest on From the Top, an NPR distributed national program which showcases the nation’s best young classical musicians. He is the author and creator of The Performance Project, a multimedia resource to help young musicians learn essential performance skills. William is also the current executive director of the No Repeats Project, a 501(c)(3) organization where young musicians work with incarcerated teens to provide opportunities, learn instruments, and experience different musical genres. Finally, William is a Regional Director with the Back to Bach Project.

A senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, William is the editor-in-chief of his school paper the U-High Midway, a varsity debater, a competitive chess player, and an avid skier.