Renowned conductor XU Zhong is the Principal Conductor of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most internationally renowned Chinese pianists and conductors in the world, XU Zhong is currently Music Director and Chief Conductor of Israel Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of Fondazione Arena di Verona and General Director of Shanghai Opera House. Between 2012 and 2015, he was Music Director and Chief Conductor of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Italy.
XU Zhong was born in a family of well-known physicians for generations in the city of Shanghai. At the age of 16, he received rigorous formal piano training in the class of Dominique Merlet at Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with the sponsorship of Zhou Qin Li Foundation. He studied conducting with Professor Xiaotong Huang, who is the leading professor of the most well-established Chinese conductors in the world. He also enjoys tremendously the artistic consultation with Mariss Jansons, Jorma Panula and Piero Rattalino.
XU Zhong won numerous prestigious international competitions, including the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, the Santander Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition, the Tokyo International Piano Competition and the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.
Since 1988, in addition to being the regular guest of Chinese orchestras and presenters, both as a pianist and conductor, he has enjoyed a concert career across Europe, America and South-East Asia. “La Folle Journée de Nantes au Japon” reviewed him in May 2006 as an “importantartistic pianist bursting on to the world stage.”
XU is regularly invited as a jury member to adjudicate at the most important international piano competitions worldwide, such as the Leeds, Clara Haskil, Busoni, Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud, Franz Liszt, AXA Dublin, Hamamatsu, Seoul, Sviatoslav Richter and Fryderyk Chopin.
He has conducted Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre de Cannes, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, MDR Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Israel Camerata of Jerusalem, among others..
XU Zhong’s professional experience and achievements in China are twofold: administrative and artistic. He has been Artistic Consultant of China Shanghai International Arts Festival and Artistic Director of “French Culture in Shanghai", “L’Année de la France en Chine” from 2003 to 2005. He was nominated Music Consultant of Shanghai Concert Hall, member of Shanghai Grand Theatre Arts Group Artistic Committee and Vice President of Shanghai Oriental Art Centre Arts Committee.
In recent seasons, XU Zhong is invited as guest conductor with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Arena di Verona, Teatro Carlo Felice, Teatro Regio Torino, Liceu Grand Theatre, Opéra de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, Royal Opera House, Staatstheater Darmstadt, Metropolitan Opera House, New York City Opera, Opera Hong Kong, and for opera productions including Die Fledermaus, I Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, La Traviata, Orphée aux enfers, La Bohème, Il Trovatore, Aleko, Das Land des Lächelns, Carmen, and Elektra.
At the invitation of the China EXPO Bureau, XU Zhong conducted the Verdi Orchestra for the celebration concert of The National Day of China in Milano EXPO 2015.
In 2016 as the chief conductor, XU Zhong conducted Bizet’s Carmen, in a production by Franco Zeffirelli for the 94th Arena di Verona Opera Festival.
XU Zhong was awarded the “Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication for his contributions in classical music and cultural exchange.