With repertoire combining Xian Zhang’s experience in both the operatic and symphonic worlds, the concert opens with the Dutch premiere of Kate Whitley’s Speak Out, the world premiere of which was also conducted by Xian Zhang with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (of whom she holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor) on International Women’s Day in March 2017.
Based on words by Malala Yousafzai in her 2013 address to the United Nations Youth Assembly, the text for Speak Out is set to choral music (featuring both adult and children choirs) in support of the campaign for girls’ right to education, with its poignant opening words “Let us pick up our books and pens”. Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death with Dmitry Ulyanov, and Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri round off this programme, which features the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Netherlands National Children’s Choir.
In addition to regular engagements with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, of whom she is Music Director, Xian Zhang’s other upcoming highlights this season include Shostakovich Symphony No.5 in her debut with the Philharmonia, Beethoven 9 at Hollywood Bowl for Los Angeles Philharmonic, and debuts with the Barcelona Symphony and Sydney Symphony.
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and Xian Zhang perform at Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on Saturday 16 February 2019. Full details here.