YAA cellist, Jack Zhao had a lot of pressure on him last month. He was performing his solo in front of hot lights, cameras and a lot of eyes in a professional television studio. He was part of the YAA performers who will be featured on Maryland Public Television's upcoming premiere broadcast of Young Artists of America: The Songs of Tim Rice on June 1st at 8:00pm. We had a chance to sit down with this Winston Churchill High School senior as we had quite a few questions that we had to ask!

What was going through your mind during your big solo, "You Must Love Me," when the camera's were rolling?

I remember telling myself to relax over and over again, and to try not to mess up. I was honestly just thrilled that I had a full solo to play! I was surrounded by so many talented cellists, and I wanted to make the most of the opportunity I was given.

How was performing in a TV studio different than performing in a full theater?

Performing for a TV recording allows you the opportunity to redo things until they are totally perfect, as opposed to the one-time-deal of performing for a full theater. The pressure is still there, however, (because you don't want) to keep the rest of the orchestra and singers waiting for your perfect solo!

What is your favorite thing about playing cello?

I love how easily I'm able to express my feelings while playing the cello. There isn't any struggle to find the right words - I just play what I'm feeling and the emotions shine through.

Do you enjoy accompanying singers? If so, how come?

I really do enjoy accompanying singers because I feel they add a great deal of depth to a piece. They have such a different tone and sound from any instrument, and I think, like in the case of You Must Love Me, that they can make something feel more complete.

Watch Jack's solo and the rest of this premiere broadcast on Maryland Public Television, June 1st at 8:00pm!