Music Director: La Verdi
Artistic Director: NJO / Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy
In addition to her positions with Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and the Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy, in 12/13 Xian Zhang returns to the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (with Truls Mørk), Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (performing Ein Deutsches Requiem), and, in 2013/14 to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. She also makes a number of guest conducting debuts this season including with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony and Florida orchestras. In September 2013 she takes LaVerdi to the BBC Proms.
Zhang’s recent engagements have included dates with the London Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras, as well as Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Staatskapelle Dresden, Wiener Symphoniker (at the Bregenzer Festspiele) and the Residentie Orkest. She ended last season with a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in her debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and conducted the Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and New Jersey symphony orchestras earlier in the season. In Asia she made her debuts with the China Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony and Tokyo Symphony orchestras.
Last season saw Zhang make her debut with De Nederlandse Opera in a Stravinsky double-bill. Future plans include San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, La forza del destino for Washington National Opera in the autumn of 2013, Welsh National Opera and her debut at La Scala in 2014.
“Zhang's eloquent and unhurried approach to Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 was evident from its brooding opening. Without losing any of the excitement of its frequent climatic points her disciplined approach to the more martial sections was contrasted with thoughtful and well-executed rubato. Zhang's modulated approach to tempi allowed space for her to highlight counter-melody and other details lost in more frenetic readings.” (Martin Duffy, The Age (Melbourne), March 2013)
”Zhang turns into a volatile force of nature when facing the orchestra, her vast repertoire of lively gestures and precise cues drawing forth a disciplined and nuanced MSO performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Always bracing and boisterous, Zhang's account emphasised in equal measure the work's majestic refinement and more sombre, reflective passages. Nevertheless, it was the final item on the program that gave the best indication of Zhang's musicality and talent, the enveloping drama and lush sentiment of Tchaikovsky's expansive Fifth Symphony realised in vivid detail and the work's yearning passion recognised as a source of overarching coherence.” (Eamonn Kelly, The Australian, March 2013)
“Morning from Grieg’s Peer Gynt is so familiar to many concert goers that they expect nothing new, nothing exciting. Yet Xian Zhang led the orchestra in such a delicate, yet highly accurate and emotionally contrasting interpretation that not only the opening, but all four pieces felt as exciting, fresh and intense as a young morning.” (Stuttgarter Zeitung, February 2013)
"This concert was one to remember with the debut of Chinese conductor Xian Zhang, who proves that authority need not be contingent on gender, nationality, or physical stature... the main challenge is to energize the orchestra, to keep it emotionally present as consistently as possible. And she did...The performance had its little miracles. Throughout, the continuity was particularly strong because Zhang so clearly showed you where the music's hinges are." (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 2012)
“Zhang was at once commanding and exuberant, occasionally jumping or bending sharply at the waist to spur on the orchestra but often remaining fairly still – a riveting, dancer-like presence completely in the service of music, not showmanship.” (New Jersey Star-Ledger, February 2012)
"On Thursday in Music Hall, the gifted Chinese-born conductor Xian Zhang offered a sizzling interpretation of Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, and created a buzz in the audience that lasted long after the last notes had died away. She’s a dynamic presence on the podium, and she conducted most of her program from memory. The conductor projected intensity, flair and a fine musical mind as she led the orchestra through Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” Overture-Fantasie and Schumann’s Fourth Symphony in D Minor, the latter orchestrated by Mahler." (Cincinnati Enquirer, February 2012)
“Musically, everything is held together extremely well by Xian Zhang... In the first two parts she guides the small groups of musicians and singers energetically through the complicated rhythmics. And in ‘Le Rossignol' Zhang is exemplary for precision and reservedness.” (Trouw, January 2012)
“The Chinese conductor Xian Zhang shows that she knows exactly how to put on the finishing touches with Stravinsky - whether they be peasant witticisms, crooked bass lines or the enchanting sound mixtures that come to play after the break in Le Rossignol.” (De Volkskrant, January 2012)
“From the first upbeat [Xian Zhang] exudes authority, and last night she took the LSO confidently through an attractive programme exploring diverse aspects of modernism. To Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite she brought a combination of steely dynamism and Technicolor brilliance that Bartok's brutalist score demands… Best was Zemlinsky's The Mermaid… Zhang drew beautifully blended textures from wind and brass, relishing the darker shadows thrown by cor anglais and bass clarinet.” (London Evening Standard, November 2011)
“Zhang got real magic from divided muted-string reveries as well as love-chemistry between maiden and prince… thanks to the LSO and Zhang, a conductor who clearly does the orchestra good, for taking the plunge.” (The Arts Desk, November 2011)
HarrisonParrott artists and touring orchestras feature in BBC Proms
Xian Zhang opens La Verdi's season at La Scala
Xian Zhang makes her debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra
Xian Zhang and Alice Sara Ott make their debuts with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Xian Zhang returns to Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Xian Zhang makes her debut with De Nederlandse Opera
Xian Zhang conducts closing concert of Cultural Days of the European Central Bank
Xian Zhang makes her debut with Orchestre National de Bordeaux and Christian Tetzlaff
Xian Zhang makes her debut with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra