Zhang Jun is a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Born in Shanghai in 1974, Zhang started learning Kunqu at the age of 12. Since 1994, he has been one of China's most acclaimed Kunqu actors, performing many leading roles in famous plays such as Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Youth and The Jade Hairpin.
Zhang has won the Meihua Award, one of China's top performing awards, as well as many acting prizes and honorable titles, including one of Shanghai Ten Outstanding Young Persons in 2004, China National Young Cultural Elites in 2006, and one of China's Best Ten Kunqu Opera Performers in 2007. Zhang has also played the leading role in Tan Dun's opera Marco Polo, which was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.
Founded in September 2009, the Shanghai Zhang Jun Kunqu Art Center is a non-profit organization which is also the first privately owned professional Kunqu Opera company in China.
(Source: U.S.-China Cultural Institute)