Xian Zhang has been named Principal Guest Conductor of Melbourne Symphony. She begins her tenure in 2020. Of her last appearance with the orchestra in 2018, Lisa MacKinney in Limelight Magazine writes, “From the opening bars, Xian Zhang’s complete command of the New World was evident as she guided the MSO, without a score, through a thrilling account of its toe-tappingly propulsive rhythms, irresistible melodies and the sweeping lyricism of the Largo. Clearly having a ball, Zhang grinned broadly as she dipped and soared throughout a sharp and utterly assured performance that it was truly a pleasure to witness”.  She was immediately re-invited to return to the orchestra in November 2020 with Beethoven Symphony no.9, preceded by the Australian premiere of Tan Dun’s company piece “Nine” which has its premiere with the Bundesjugend Orchester in Bonn in August 2020, conducted by the composer.
Xian Zhang next conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Los Angeles Philharmonic on August 27 and 29, 2019 in Hollywood Bowl, with a world premiere by Caroline Shaw, to open the concerts.
The acclaim she has been receiving for her work as Music Director of New Jersey Symphony has resulted in a strong North American career, with upcoming engagements which include New World, Washington, Baltimore, Dallas, Montreal, Ottawa, Cincinnati, Houston, Minnesota and Chicago Symphonies. 
Xian Zhang’s 2019/20 European engagements include London (with both the Philharmonia in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and the English Chamber Orchestra in a programme of Thomas Adès, Richard Strauss and Ravel), Paris (in the Philharmonie with Orchestre National de Lyon in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of La Folle Journée festival in Nantes), and Belgium (returning to work with the Orchestre National de Belgique).  She will also make her debut with MDR Leipzig.