Muhai Tang

Chief Conductor – Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor – Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Artistic Director – Shanghai Philharmonic
Artistic Director – Zhenjiang Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate – China National Symphony Orchestra

Biography

Muhai Tang is dedicated to creating new avenues for classical music and as such has most recently concentrated his attentions to building the audience and artistic reputation of new or lesser known orchestras. He is Chief Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tianjin Opera and Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Shanghai Philharmonic and Zhenjiang Symphony Orchestras in China.  Working with these orchestras he feels he is helping to build and stabilize their artistic output, which is particularly important to him in China where he is keen to help the continued growth of Chinese music. From September 2009 he has also held the role of Principal Guest Conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.

Son of a famous film director in China, Muhai Tang has always been drawn to the musical stage, and has conducted opera on several continents, most recently with a highly acclaimed new production of Rossini’s opera Le Comte Ory in Zurich.  He previously held the position of Chief Conductor of the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki where he conducted highly successful new productions of Die Frau Ohne Schatten, Turandot, Der Rosenkavalier and Pique Dame, and also Madame Butterfly, Tosca, La Rondine, Boris Godunov, The Marriage of Figaro, La Traviata, The Barber of Seville and Othello.  His ballet performances with the company included an acclaimed Sacre du Printemps and a new production of Swan Lake.  In 2007 he conducted fully-staged performances of Tan Dun’s opera “Tea” with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

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Reviews

“The 61 year old Chinese conductor has absolutely recommended himself as a Rossini specialist through this premiere performance. The orchestra La Scintilla, which played on historic instruments, sounded so fresh and vivid, lively, chatty, driven. It was really fun to listen to. The public has rewarded the fully successful performance with an enthusiastic applause.”

Elisabeth Schwind

Südkurier

“The conductor Muhai Tang proved to be a crafty Rossini specialist with a clear disposition for spacious developments, able to create a fast narrowing of the narration where appropriate. He conjured the nocturnal atmosphere, filled with erotisism.”

Herbert Büttiker

Zürichsee-Zeitung

More Reviews

“Conductor Muhai Tang was a revelation as he elicited unstinting, dramatically informed playing from his instrumentalists. Maestro Tang brought to bear notably fine pacing and exquisite attention to color and detail. He accommodated the soloists effectively, breathing with them, urging them on one minute, indulging them in elastic phrasing the next. The reading was driving yet highly responsive, a consummately controlled performance.”

James Sohre, Opera Today 

“The Chinese New Year was celebrated in style at the Kennedy Center on Monday night with a visit of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, an 80-member orchestra founded in 1982, and conductor Muhai Tang. Their long program narrowly skirted the “something for everyone” approach, offering instead an evening that satisfied in its unusual variety, touching on both the musical and the theatrical. In conventional Western terms, it was easiest to assess the orchestra in the last piece on the program, a semi-staged, uncredited pastiche from Puccini’s “Turandot.” Here Tang showed himself an experienced opera conductor, and the orchestra responded with a subtle performance that could have graced the pit of any regional opera house in the United States or Europe. Textures ran the gamut from richly atmospheric sensuality to implacable grandeur, with a blended sound that always supported rather than pressed the singers.”

Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post 

“It is also extremely well conducted by Muhai Tang. He leads with precision and point, and yet in that most exquisite of operatic nocturnes, the great Act 2 Trio, is capable of drawing sounds of rare beauty from the period instruments of the Orchestra La Scintilla.”

Richard Osborne, Gramophone 

“The 61 year old Chinese conductor has absolutely recommended himself as a Rossini specialist through this premiere performance. The orchestra La Scintilla, which played on historic instruments, sounded so fresh and vivid, lively, chatty, driven. It was really fun to listen to. The public has rewarded the fully successful performance with an enthusiastic applause. ”

Elisabeth Schwind, Südkurier 

“The conductor Muhai Tang proved to be a crafty Rossini specialist with a clear disposition for spacious developments, able to create a fast narrowing of the narration where appropriate. He conjured the nocturnal atmosphere, filled with erotisism.”

Herbert Büttiker, Zürichsee-Zeitung 

“It was Muhai Tang’s magnificent musical understanding and insightful conducting that made this performance work…Tang allows Puccini’s decadent orchestral writing to come alive and vibrate in a thousand colours, and he manages to find remarkable dramatic effects, with no trace of eccentricity. And at the same time he made the ensemble react alertly to the occasionally slightly capricious soloists. ”

Mats Liljeroos

“Resident conductor Muhai Tang approached this fantastical gem of a piece with appropriate joy and attention to detail. He allowed the leader Willi Zimmermann enough freedom in the Adagio for his exquisite Cantilena and used playful echo effects throughout the Finale…The Zurich Chamber Orchestra provided a an attentive, melodious and well balanced accompaniment.”

Sibylle Ehrismann 

“Throughout the performance he [Martin Fröst] never lost touch with the orchestra, which, under the direction of Muhai Tang, was a wholly dependable partner… Besides the Nielsen, Tang and his orchestra offered a multifaceted programme of Scandinavian music, with Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Sibelius’ Andante Festivo and the string piece Insula deserta by the Finnish composer Erkki-Sven Tüür… The conductor interpreted the work in typical style; making it exciting and full of contrasting images, and bringing out the sparkling musicianship of his orchestra.”

Thomas Schacher