In 2009, 18-year-old Jeffery Ou introduced himself to the music world by emerging as a Top 20 Semifinalist in the fourth season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” He was among the youngest contestants as well as the only classical musician, instrumentalist and East Asian to reach semifinals in the American spin on the “Got Talent” franchise that year. His performances drew worldwide attention.
The career of Taiwanese-American pianist Jeffery Ou (b. 1991) has taken him across 5 US states and 3 countries. Showing a remarkable disposition for music as a very young child, Jeffery began formal studies in piano at age 6, and excelled competitively in numerous events in Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee while still a teenager, where his performances were described as “very mature playing…” (North Texas Youth Music Competition, 2004); “utterly gripping in intensity” (Dallas Symphonic Festival, 2007); “…stunning playing on many levels” (Baylor-Waco Piano Competition, 2008); “very exciting…has a lot of flair as a performer and a real sense of visceral excitement” (Juanita Miller State Concerto Competition, 2009); “impressive…with much bravura and passion!” (Dallas Symphonic Festival, 2009); and “like a benediction” (Mu Phi Epsilon Concert Series, 2014).
In the summer of 2009, at the age of 18, Jeffery was launched onto the national stage when he competed on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” then in its fourth season. He would advance to the Top 48 Quarterfinals and ultimately to the Top 20 Semifinals in Hollywood, performing for and becoming personally acquainted with celebrities including Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff, Nick Cannon, Chris Brown and Ashley Tisdale. Back home, this accomplishment led Jeffery to receive the “Key to the City” award from the mayor of Balch Springs, Texas and the designation of “Jeffery Ou Day” from the mayor of his hometown of Carrollton (October 18, 2009), an invitation to appear on DIFFA 2010 (hosted by Queen Latifah at Winspear Opera House), as well as extensive news coverage from Carrollton Leader, Dallas Chinese Times, Dallas Morning News, NBC, Neighborsgo, University of North Texas News Service, UNT’s “Counterpoint” Magazine, NextStep Magazine (where he was a 2009 ‘Superteen’ winner) and CCTV (China).
In addition to piano, Jeffery has also played violin, viola, fortepiano and harpsichord. He is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, Alpha Chi National College Scholarship Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, and Golden Key International Honour Society.
In extremely high demand as a collaborative pianist, Jeffery has worked with music programs in well over 30 schools in various Texas districts the past several years, and has twice been invited to perform in the Texas All-State Solo/Ensemble Contest in Austin and the McKinney ISD Honors Recitals. He recently completed 4 seasons as a featured recitalist in the Mu Phi Epsilon Concert Series in Dallas, and is frequently engaged as a performer with Serenata Strings and Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth. He has also taught masterclasses at the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, and has adjudicated for Texas All-State placement auditions for high school pianists. Recent performances have featured Jeffery as concerto soloist in Bach, Beethoven and Shostakovich with the Shepton High School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras in Plano. He has also performed as a soloist with the Mansfield Philharmonic Orchestra. In the fall of 2015, to commemorate the 260th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jeffery embarked on an ambitious tour of presenting the complete cycle of solo piano sonatas in six recitals, a project that is currently halfway complete with 10 sonatas in 3 successful performances. The extensive, eclectic list of respected artists for whom he has performed includes pianists NING AN, JUYEON KANG, ROBERTO POLI, JEANEANE DOWIS, JONATHAN LOMASCOLA, BART VAN OORT, JULIUS DRAKE, HELMUT DEUTSCH, LELIA SADLIER, TRUNG SAM, CHARLENE HARB, PATRICIA MCKEWEN AMATO, Danish baritone BO SKOVHUS, German- Mexican tenor EMILIO PONS, German tenor FALKO HÖNISCH, American heldentenor DAVID SADLIER, casting director of Baden-Baden Festival ANDREAS GEIER, and senior vice president/director of IMG Artists MATTHEW HORNER among many others. His private instructors have included Wells Yi Wu (winner of the inaugural Esther Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary), Baya Kakouberi (Director of Blue Candlelight Music Series in Dallas), Dr. Steven Harlos (chair, Division of Keyboard Studies – UNT College of Music) and acclaimed Mexican-American concert pianist Gustavo Romero. An ardent advocate of new compositions, he has given world-premiere performances of some 10 new works by at least 4 living composers. February 2018 saw Jeffery’s vocal performance debut in McKinney, singing the role of Sammy Fong in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Flower Drum Song.” Most recent performances include a 5-concert tour across north Texas with clarinetist/composer Eric Wood, featuring newly written compositions. Jeffery maintains a very active solo and collaborative performing career, and is highly sought after as a respected teacher and performer throughout the North Texas metroplex and beyond. In Europe, Jeffery holds Diplomas in Art Song and Opera from the Sankt Goar International Music Academy in Germany, and is an alumnus of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. He was also invited in summer of 2016 to enroll in the Cornish-American Song Institute (CASI) in England. In the United States, he is a graduate of the world-renowned College of Music at the University of North Texas, where he was an Emerald Eagle Distinguished Scholar and completed both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance, under the guidance of Dr. Steven Harlos and Gustavo Romero. Jeffery is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Piano Performance at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he studies under Dr. John Solomons as a Mary Frances Reel Memorial Scholarship Endowment recipient, and was a finalist in the university’s concerto competition in 2021. He is slated for graduation in December 2021, with a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average. Jeffery has received numerous grants from organizations including Musicians Foundation and MusiCares, and has been a featured subject in VoyageDallas Magazine in 2020 and 2021. Through his teachers, his artistic lineage is directly traceable to the traditions of Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin.
You can find Jeffery’s performance here.