From Berklee to NYU and on to an Award-Winning Career, Jihao Zhang Dazzles Audiences' Ears

Through his audio engineering, Zhang has worked his way up the ladder from university studies to earning a Master of Music degree and establishing himself through an impressive start to his illustrious professional journey.

It was May 2011 when Jihao Zhang enrolled at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Four years later he'd earned a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production and begin seeking out the next step. That materialized in the form of a Master's Program at New York University, where he graduated with his Masters of Music in Music Technology in May of 2019.


With a solid educational background in-hand, Zhang quickly began to wow both audiences and the sound production teams he worked on. Manchurian Tiger is his most widely lauded work. As a Mixing Engineer, the soundscape he wove together created the sonic backdrop for the dark drama that garnered a great deal of critical acclaim. The film was selected for the 20th New York Asian Film Festival in 2022, and wont the Best Feature Film at the SIFF Golden Goblet Awards.

Prior to his work on Manchurian Tiger, in 2018 the independent film Black Goat called upon Zhang's service. He served as the film's Sound Designer and Mixing Engineer. On the indie film circuit, Black Goat turned some industry heads by winning the Grand Jury Prize - Special Mention award at the 2020 AFI Fest and Best Student Film at the 2019 Austin Film Festival.

Jihao Zhang, Engineer Extraordinaire
Jihao Zhang, Engineer Extraordinaire


On the television front, Unexpected Arrival is a Chinese TV series cast with the actors of another popular show, Under the Sun. But the anticipation for Unexpected Arrival was palpable. The series earned a whopping 250 million views in China. Again, Zhang's Sound Engineering on the score and Osts contributed to the continuity of the shows while bringing a fresh breath of life to the setting of Unexpected.


Not one to rest on his laurels, Jihao stepped behind the mixing board in a music studio for the Li Jian penned song, "Himalayan Child." Sung by Tenzin Nima, who won the championship at The Voice of China in 2018, Zhang's role was multi-faceted, as he held down engineering duties for both mixing and mastering the 2021 release.

In the same year, Zhang served stepped up again for both mixing and Mastering Engineer duties for 2021's "Chat," released by renowned artist Lei Zhao and Peng Chuyue, whose online followers number in the millions.


What we've seen from the career of Jihao Zhang is a multi-faceted ability to work across professional fields. His unique mixing technique has been especially beneficial to film, TV, and music that convey a dramatic, brooding plot line and subject matter. At the most emotional and tense moments of any of the above productions, Zhang's soundscape captures the moment in the most impactful manner. His techniques include brilliant use of reverb and delay that propel a narrative's plot forward into the next compelling moment.

His insightfulness is also apparent. Each of these styles of productions is listened to in different venues--a movie theatre, headphones, car stereo. Zhang hones the sonic environment of his creations to "fit the room," whatever the medium may be. It takes more than just technical skill to bring these elements together. A beautiful scene otherwise can be left flat for the viewer if the accompanying sounds aren't built around the moment. As much as an author or songwriter creates a work of beauty, so much the sound engineering team. And through his projects thus far, we have seen this from Jihao Zhang. And though the sound team rarely gets recognition, those in the industry eagerly await Zhang's next projects to see what he's got in store for audiences next.

Posted on 6/1/23