Xian Zhang earned rave reviews for Seattle Symphony’s opening night concerts. She stood in for Music Director Thomas Dausgaard, who was unable conduct the concerts due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but greeted the audience via a filmed message. He will return to conduct future scheduled performances.

The Seattle Times’ Melinda Bargreen writes:

“Fortunately, the Seattle Symphony found a conductor nimble enough to step in for Dausgaard in the opening night program: Xian Zhang, music director of the New Jersey Symphony and the conductor who launched the “Seattle Symphony Live” streamed concert series a year ago.

“And what a conductor she is! The incredibly dynamic Zhang led the responsive orchestra in the world premiere performance of Reena Esmail’s “RE|Member,” plus two of the most colorful war horses of the symphonic repertoire: Strauss’ “Don Juan” and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.”

In October, Music Director Zhang will opening the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s season (October 8 – 10) with the world premiere of Michael Abels’ Emerge, Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Voodoo Violin Concerto – for which Mr Roumain will also be the soloist – and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

Xian Zhang is currently in her sixth 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 following a hugely successful period from 2009–2016 as their Music Director.

European engagements this season and the next include Philharmonia Orchestra (Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde), 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. In recent seasons, she has conducted the Orchestre National de Lyon at the Paris Philharmonie (Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique), and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of La Folle Journée festival in Nantes.

Watch Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night Concert, conducted by Xian Zhang, for free at seattlesymphony.com

Photo credit: B Ealovega