Born in Dandong, China, Xian Zhang made her professional debut at the age of 20 conducting Le nozze di Figaro (Central Opera House, Beijing). She gained her Bachelor and Masters of Music at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, and served one year on its conducting faculty before moving to the USA in 1998. Winning the 2002 Maazel/Vilar conducting competition launched her career. Xian Zhang works as a guest conductor in Europe and the USA. 2013/2014 marks her fifth season as Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, and in September 2013 she took the orchestra for their debut at the BBC Proms. Since 2011, Xian Zhang has been Artistic Director of the NJO: Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy. Equally established as an opera conductor, Xian Zhang made her ENO debut with La bohème in 2007 and De Nederlandse Opera debut in Robert Lepage’s double-bill of Stravinsky’s Renard and Le Rossignol in 2012. Last season she conducted Le nozze di Figaro (San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program), and this season includes La forza del destino (Washington National Opera). Future plans include her La Scala debut in Autumn 2014.