Born in Dandong, China, Xian Zhang made her professional conducting debut at the Central Opera House in Beijing at the age of 20. She was appointed as the New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.
Since September 2016, Zhang has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, becoming the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. She also holds the post of Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, following her tenure as Music Director from 2009–2016.
2017/18 season included returns to Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquesta Nacional de España, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, San Francisco Symphony and NAC Orchestra, Ottawa. 2018/19 sees her debuts with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, and the orchestra of Royal Stockholm Opera.
Xian 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.
Photo © Ben Ealovega