The Jaqua Foundation Chair
Grammy Awards-Winning Conductor Xian Zhang’s recording with Time for Three and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Letters for The Future (on Deutsche Grammophon), won awards in both the Best Contemporary Classical Composition (specifically Kevin Puts’ Contact), and Best Classical Instrumental Solo categories in 2023.
Xian Zhang is currently in her seventh season as Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony, who mark their 100th anniversary season in 2022/23. She is also Principal Guest Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, following her tenure as their Music Director 2009–2016.
With New Jersey Symphony, Zhang has commissioned composers such as Wynton Marsalis, Jesse Montgomery, Qigang Chen, Chen Yi, Steven Mackey, Thomas Adès, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Christopher Rouse, Vivian Li, Gary Morgan, Christian McBride and Paquito D’Rivera. She is also responsible for introducing their annual Lunar New Year celebrations.
2022/23 US engagements include Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, St Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Festival, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Xian Zhang remains a popular guest of Detroit, Montreal, NAC Ottawa, and Toronto Symphony orchestras.
Beyond the US, this season Zhang conducts Singapore Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, having recently conducted the London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, Komische Oper Berlin, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Zhang previously served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. In 2002, she won first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductor's Competition. She was appointed New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.