Xian Zhang, in Growing Demand, Resigns from Sioux City Symphony Post

Classic Arts News   Xian Zhang, in Growing Demand, Resigns from Sioux City Symphony Post
Xian Zhang, the rising young podium talent who is associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic, has stepped down from her job as music director and conductor of the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony, reports the Sioux City Journal.

"It has been my honor and privilege to serve as music director for the past two years," Zhang said in a statement quoted by the Journal. "My extremely overloaded schedule is taking a toll on me. I asked my manager to cancel concerts, even in China, in 2008. One must take steps to protect oneself when health and family are in line. I must cut down my traveling for next season."

Orchestra officials acknowledged that they had not been expecting Zhang to remain in Sioux City long, though they were a bit surprised by the suddenness of her departure. "We knew when we were contemplating hiring her that she would be in incredible demand worldwide and that her three-year contract might be the only one we would have," Board President Charese Yanney told the Journal. "We were preparing for a search a year from now. We will now accelerate the timeline. During Xian's search year [i.e., the year before she was hired], we had an amazing field of highly qualified candidates and I expect that will only grow with a new search."

Sioux City Symphony executive director Douglas Gerhart told the paper, "While [she had] a brief tenure, Xian has certainly demonstrated to all that the orchestra can perform remarkable concerts. The Sioux City Symphony is performing at the highest level in its illustrious 92-two year history."

Zhang, who took the top prize in the inaugural Maazel/Vilar International Conductors' Competition in 2002, was also responsible for the appointment of Jungho Kim as assistant conductor and director of education for the orchestra; Eunho Kim, his wife, was appointed concertmaster shortly afterwards. "Along with these appointments and several new members serving in key positions," Gerhart told the paper, "the Sioux City Symphony is a stronger orchestra than just a few years ago."

Her final concert with the orchestra will be an all-Beethoven program this Friday, May 18.

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