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Dynamic female conductor returns to NZ

10 August 2006

Dynamic female conductor returns to NZ

"Never before have I been so reluctant to see a musician leave the stage." [Lorin Maazel, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic]

"[Xian Zhang] generates electricity. Here's this tiny little thing who becomes a giant on the podium." [Cincinnati Enquirer

Xian Zhang's energetic podium presence and superb conducting technique during her previous two concerts with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra resulted in immediate re-engagement and the highest of praise from both audience and critics - William Dart noting in the NZ Herald last year: "The Chinese conductor inspired the orchestra in a heart-stopping programme of romantic music - an impressive launch for the series."

This dynamic Chinese conductor returns for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's APN News & Media Premier Series concert on Thursday 7 September, a concert laden with dark musical drama: Tchaikovsky's vivid account of Romeo and Juliet; Mussorgsky's extraordinarily powerful Songs and Dances of Death, orchestrated by Shostakovich and featuring one of Australasia's finest voices, baritone Michael Lewis; and the explosive, primal vitality of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Xian Zhang is currently Associate Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and Music Director of the Sioux Symphony Orchestra in China. Following her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2005 she was immediately re-engaged for 2006 and 2008. Debuts next season include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras.

Zhang was first prize winner of the 2002 Maazel/Vilar International Conductors Competition (aged just 29) and she has just been awarded the Lincoln Center's prestigious Martin E. Segal Award, given annually to two rising young artists in recognition of outstanding achievement in their respective disciplines.

Michael Lewis, one of Australia's most respected singers, is highly regarded for his command of both the operatic and concert repertoire. His debut at the Wexford Festival in 1976, directed by the famous baritone Sesto Bruscantini, was followed by appearances at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival and engagements with Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, English National Opera and Opera North. Since this time, Lewis has appeared in Europe, America and Australia in a wide range of roles from Mozart to Wagner to 20th Century works.

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra APN News & Media Premier Series
Thursday 7 September - 8pm, Auckland Town Hall THE EDGE®
Bookings: phone Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on (09) 307 5139 or visit

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and major grants from Auckland City and the ASB Community Trust.


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