Xian Zhang

Music Director
The Jaqua Foundation Chair

Music Director Xian Zhang will remain at the helm of the New Jersey Symphony through and beyond its 100th anniversary in 2022. She has extended her contract as music director through the 2027–28 season. She is principal guest conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conductor emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.

With the New Jersey Symphony, Zhang has commissioned works from composers such as Thomas Adès, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Qigang Chen, Christopher Rouse, Vivian Li, Gary Morgan, Christian McBride and Paquito D’Rivera. She is also responsible for introducing an annual Lunar New Year Celebration concert to the orchestra.

Upcoming US engagements include returns to San Francisco Symphony; Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, NAC Ottawa and Toronto symphony orchestras. Upcoming European engagements include Philharmonia Orchestra, La Verdi in Milan, Spanish National Orchestra, the orchestra of Komische Oper in Berlin, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Warsaw Philharmonic and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Zhang will debut with Santa Fe Opera in 2022 and the Metropolitan Opera in 2024. Previous opera engagements have included productions with Cincinnati Opera, Welsh National Opera, Savonlinna Festival, Den Norske Opera, English National Opera and the National Opera in Washington, DC.

She was principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales (the first female conductor to hold a title role with a BBC orchestra). In 2002, she won first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductor’s Competition. She was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s assistant conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming associate conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

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