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Classical music takes center stage

Updated: 2021-02-04 08:00 ( China Daily )
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She worked as the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra's music director from 2005 to 2007 and has been the music director for Milan's Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra since 2009.

Zhang has returned to China regularly to perform with symphony orchestras and musicians since 2008, as classical music continues to gain popularity in the country.

In 2015, she became the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' first female principal guest conductor. The next year she was appointed as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Zhang says the orchestra has been streaming concerts since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

She has been invited to conduct in-person concerts with the Houston, Seattle and Detroit symphonies. Her first live concert last year was with Seattle Symphony, performing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in September.

"With extra precautions and safety measures, these concerts were successful and especially meaningful to me since not much was happening in the classical music world (due to COVID-19)," she says.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has so far recorded three live performances and one virtually mixed program, all of which have been warmly received by the audiences, "who have been starved artistically and musically in isolation", Zhang says.

"I think being social is in our DNA. I consider this isolation period a great opportunity to focus on family, and focus on my children's musical education at home and my personal growth," she says.

"The pandemic is changing the world in many ways. Classical music will endure and survive. The least and the only thing we can do now, as classical musicians, is to be optimistic, because there's no alternative."

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