Xian Zhang is currently in her seventh season as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She also holds the positions of principal guest conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conductor emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi after a highly successful period from 2009 to 2016 as the ensemble’s music director.
Recent European engagements include the Philharmonia Orchestra (Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde), Spanish National Orchestra, Berlin’s Komische Oper, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Warsaw Philharmonic and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. She also has conducted the Orchestre National de Lyon at the Paris Philharmonie (in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique) and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of La Folle Journée festival in Nantes.
North American engagements included returns to San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, NAC Ottawa and Toronto symphony orchestras. Zhang will make her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 2024. She recently conducted Tosca for Cincinnati Opera. Previous opera engagements included Nabucco with Welsh National Opera, Otello with the Savonlinna Festival, La traviata for Den Norske Opera in Oslo, La bohème for English National Opera and La forza del destino with the Washington National Opera.
Zhang previously served as principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and was the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. In 2002, she won first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductors’ Competition. She was appointed as the New York Philharmonic’s assistant conductor in 2002 and subsequently became its associate conductor and the first holder of its Arturo Toscanini Chair.