In a Global Crop of Young Conductors: Xian Zhang at Milan's La Verdi

The Wall Street Journal’s Bright Young Maestros narrates news of a focus on youthful conductors as a way of replenishing aging audiences. Rich with talent, the new crop of conductors expresses a different desire to interact with and relate to audiences.

Music by living composers is more typically a vital part of their repertoire. And they are more approachable and visible in their communities. During his first month as music director of the New York Philharmonic, 42-year-old Alan Gilbert greeted ticket seekers standing in line and addressed audiences from the stage. At the Philharmonic during the Maazel era, education concerts were relegated to assistants. By contrast, Mr. Gilbert will lead six School Day programs. Read on: Bright Young Maestros.

One of the promising young conductors featured in WSJ is 36-year-old Xian Zhang, in her inaugural season as music director of La Verdi in Milan and the first female principal conductor in Italy. Zhang joined La Verdi after completing her position as associate conductor of the NY Philharmonic. She has an eight-month-old daughter and speaks fluent Italian.

Zhang reflects here on sacred music and the pleasures of mixing religion with inspiring sounds.

Xian Zhang dirige l’Orchestra Verdi