Conductor Xian Zhang, making her mark in China and the U.S.

Posted on: June 28, 2017

“Zhang Xian’s professional debut was unplanned,” writes Chen Nan in Thursday’s (6/22) China Daily. “The junior at the Beijing-based Central Conservatory of Music stood in for her teacher, conductor Wu Lingfen, who’d fallen ill, to conduct The Marriage of Figaro at the Central Opera House in 1995. ‘Some people … wondered what a 22-year-old woman was capable of. But … everything went smoothly,’ Zhang recalls. Zhang has continued to make history in this male-dominated field. She became the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ first female new principal guest conductor in 2015. And she was appointed as the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s music director last year. She also has a long relationship with the New York Philharmonic and … with the London Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.” She was the Sioux City Symphony’s music director from 2005 to 2007. “Zhang is often asked why there aren’t more female conductors. ‘More women are joining the profession,’ she says. ‘It’s a matter of time.… It’s not only difficult for female conductors but for any young conductors to be noticed these days.’ She’s coaching several women in the U.S. Zhang doesn’t believe gender is related to conducting. ‘It’s about musical ability and personality.’ ”

Posted June 28, 2017