Manchin Zhang is Principal Violist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She was formerly the first Asian player and youngest member in the history of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) when she was appointed Assistant Principal Viola by music director Neeme Järvi in 1994. Manchin has worked closely with conductors and soloists such as Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Simon Rattle, Zubin Metha, Michael Tilson Thomas Isaac Stern Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman Gil Shaham, Midori, and Emanuel Ax. During her tenure at the DSO, she was a resident artist at the Interlochen Center for the Arts a member of the DSO Chamber Music Ensemble and DSO String Quartet, and a participant and performer of the Chamber Music Festival at Blue Lake in Great Michigan area. She also regularly performed with the Detroit Chamber Winds.
Born in Hunan China, Manchin started her violin lessons at the age of five and entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of ten. She successfully made her debut public performance at the age of 12, and in 1991, was a finalist in the Primrose International Viola Competition. As a violist of the Young Shanghai String Quartet, she also won the 4th prize in the Portsmouth International String Quartet Competition in 1988, and 3rd prize in the Prague International Competition for String Quartet in 1987. She completed her performance diploma in viola with highest honours at the Shanghai Conservatory, and was later accepted as a full scholarship student to work with Emanuel Vardi at the Manhattan School of Music.
Manchin is Head of Viola Studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. As an active visiting professor, she has coached and conducted masterclasses at major musical institutions in China. A much sought-after chamber musician Manchin has performed regularly in chamber music concerts.