Artist Bios, July 2024

Jan Bleakney (July 16) has the commonly paired joint interests of math and music. She grew up playing flute and piano in Anacortes, and went on to earn a math degree at the University of Washington. She earned her living as a consulting actuary. Since retiring, Jan has been able to rebalance her time to put music in the forefront, including taking up the Celtic harp. Jan regularly performs with her BMW Flute Trio and Music Performance Group, as well as previously participating in Music Northwest, Phinney Ridge Orchestra, and International Artists Carillon. She is so thrilled to have worked with such wonderful teachers, Zart Dombourian-Eby, Mark Andersen, and Gwen Baker.

Diana Gao (July 16) manages a double life as a Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft and a concert pianist. She earned her MBA degree at the University of Washington (UW) in 2015 and is currently studying the piano with Dr. Robin McCabe from UW. She won the Gold Medal of the Seattle International Piano Competition (Outstanding Amateurs Division) and First Prize in the “Golden Classical Music Awards” International Competition, which earned her a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. She’s an active performer in Seattle and international piano festivals. She’s also a Board member of Classical KING and has been a repeated guest of Classical KING’s Northwest Focus Live program. Since 2020, she has presented annual fundraising recitals through the Microsoft Give campaign supporting local non-profit organizations. Those events reinforced her belief that music has the power to inspire change and make the world a better place.