Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Americas

Xian Zhang to conduct Philadelphia Orchestra in NYE celebration

By AI HEPING in New York | | Updated: 2021-12-14 07:23
Share - WeChat
Xian Zhang, music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. [Photo/Agencies]

Xian Zhang, currently in her sixth season as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra concerts on Dec 31 and January 2, 2022.

She agreed to lead both concerts after music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin withdrew.

Zhang will conduct a program that will include the world premiere of composer-in-residence Gabriela Lena Frank's Pachamama Meets an Ode, a Philadelphia Orchestra commission, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Choral).

"We look forward to welcoming Xian Zhang to Verizon Hall for these special concerts and to her subscription debut with the orchestra in May 2022,'' Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center, said in a statement.

Zhang's contract as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has been extended until the 2023–24 season, to include the orchestra's 100th anniversary in 2022.

Born in Dandong, China, she trained at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she earned her bachelor and master of music degrees. She served one year on its conducting faculty before moving to the United States in 1998.

Zhang made her professional debut conducting Le nozze di Figaro at the Central Opera House in Beijing at the age of 20.

She was appointed the New York Philharmonic's assistant conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming its associate conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

In September 2016, Zhang assumed the position of principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, becoming the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. Her 2018-19 BBC NOW season included her first international tour with the orchestra to China. The visit was supported by British Council China.

Zhang is a regular conductor in her native China, where she works with, among others, NCPA Orchestra, China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

She holds the positions of principal guest conductor of the Melbourne Symphony orchestra, and conductor emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi following a successful period from 2009–2016 as its music director.  

"It really changed dramatically for me in the way I look at Italian opera,'' Zhang told the Cincinnati Business Courier in an interview. "Sometimes (the music) feels so hot-blooded, and other times, I must take a lot of time to really speak the words out and make the audience understand. I think one has to know the language and the character of that nation to understand a lot behind Italian opera."

Because of the pandemic, Zhang had to contend with postponed engagements last year. But "through a combination of her rising profile and serendipities of location and timing, she has become something of a virtual-concert jet-setter," The New York Times wrote in November 2020.

In late September 2020, Zhang conducted the Seattle Symphony in a livestream from an empty Benaroya Hall. More than a week later, she made her debut with the Houston Symphony in front of 200 people in Jones Hall and a virtual audience.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349