Zhang replaces Roberto Minczuk, who was associate conductor from 2002 to 2004.
Zhang first came to Maazel's attention when she shared first prize at the 2002 Maazel-Vilar Conductor's Competition. She served as a cover conductor for the Philharmonic in 2002-03 and 2003-04, making her debut with the Philharmonic in February 2004. Named an assistant conductor in September 2004, she made her subscription debut in January of this year, and will lead the orchestra in six concerts in New York City parks this month.
Born in China, Zhang studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In China, she served as conductor-in-residence of the China Opera House in Beijing and conductor of the JinFan Symphony Orchestra. She was music director of the concert orchestra of the Cincinnati Conservatory from 2000 to 2004.
"Xian has been a strong colleague on the podium and has done remarkable work since she joined the Philharmonic," Maazel said in a statement. "She has garnered the respect and admiration of both the musicians and the audiences. I look forward to a continued collaboration with her."