We’ve been excited about the appointment since it was first announced – and now Xian Zhang’s first season as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has officially begun!

The appointment was highly praised at the time – and for good reason.  Zhang, who is an internationally acclaimed conductor and has led major ensembles in Milan, London, and Beijing, will be the ensemble’s 14th music director, and the first woman to hold the role.  The NJSO was enthusiastic about introducing her to their audiences and even shared a video introduction on their website:

Though a quick look through the NJSO’s 2016-2017 concert listing shows rather standard choices (lots of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and other dead, white, men) we can be hopeful that she will challenge audiences, and musicians, to expand their repertoire.

WQXR spoke to Zhang during a break in a rehearsal.  Listen to the audio here:

And read more, including additional soundbites of the rehearsal, at the WQXR website.