Features violin phenomenon Xiang Yu, international conducting star Xian Zhang

 PITTSBURGH – Female powerhouse conductor Xian Zhang and young violin phenomenon Xiang Yu will make their debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in two concerts showcasing the music of Prokofiev, Schumann, and PSO Composer of the Year Steven Stucky.

These BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, at Heinz Hall.

Tickets, ranging from $20 to $93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or by visiting the PSO online at

Considered one of today’s most talented and creative young violinists in the world, Xiang Yu, winner of the prestigious Menuhin Competition, will perform Prokofiev’s stunning and lyrical Second Violin Concerto.

The program begins with Stucky’s Radical Light. The composer, whose Second Concerto for Orchestra won a Pulitzer Prize, is the recipient of numerous commissions from orchestras, performing groups, individuals, and foundations both at home and abroad. The New York Times called the Second Concerto for Orchestra, commissioned and premiered in 2004 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, “an electrifying piece.”

The program also includes Romantic composer Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, with Gustav Mahler’s orchestration.

The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for their 2011-2012 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the PSO.

Born in Dandong, China, Xian Zhang made her professional debut conducting Le nozze di Figaro at the Central Opera House in Beijing at the age of 20.The 2011-2012 season marks her third year as Music Director of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, her contract having recently been extended to the end of 2014-2015. She also is Artistic Director of the NJO/Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy. She was New York Philharmonic’s Associate Conductor (and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair) for three years having previously been their Assistant Conductor. Future engagements include Wiener Symphoniker, as well as the London Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and Gothenburg Symphony orchestras. She will return to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2013-2014. She debuted last season with Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Danish National, and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys a strong relationship with the orchestra of the Juilliard School and recently conducted the world premiere of a new work by Augusta Read Thomas at the Lincoln Center.

Xiang Yu’s astonishing technique and exceptional musical talent have won him consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience responses worldwide for his solo recitals, orchestral engagements, and chamber music performances. Xiang won the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition 2010, together with the Bach Prize and Audience Prize. He also won the 2nd prize of Wieniawski International Violin Competition (2006) as the youngest prize winner; 3rd prize of Michael Hill International Violin Competition (2011); 2nd prize and the Best Commissioned Work Prize of 25th Irving M. Klein International String Competition; 1st prize and the Best Chamber Music Performance prize of the Baden-Württemberg International Youth Music Competition (2005). As an active young soloist, Xiang has performed in venues throughout the world, including Konzerthaus Berlin, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Wianiwski Hall in Poland, Grand Theatre of Calgary, Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, Auckland Town Hall in New Zealand, and Boston’s Jordan Hall. Xiang also appeared as a soloist with world-leading orchestras, such as the National Theatre Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Young Euro Classic Orchestra, Auckland Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Xiang also is an active chamber musician and, since 14, has regularly presented chamber music concerts in China with repertoire ranging from Joseph Haydn to Alfred Schnittke. He is studying at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Donald Weilerstein on full scholarship and NEC merit award. In addition, he is also a recipient of the NEC Presidential Scholarship, Rising Star Scholarship, and Irene M. Stare Scholarship in Violin.

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