March 31, 2023

Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

Chinese-American Conductor Xian Zhang will lead the Minnesota Orchestra in concerts on March 18, 19 and 21 that also feature pianist Simone Dinnerstein as soloist in Bach piano concerto.

Xian Zhang is the first woman to be named music director of a major Italian orchestra, and shares center stage with American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who has been hailed for her fresh interpretations of Bach’s music. This pair of trail-blazing talents make their highly anticipated Minnesota Orchestra debuts with Bach’s Piano Concerto in D minor; Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Symphony No. 38.

The program is performed three times at Orchestra Hall: on March 18, at 11:00 a.m.; March 19, at 8:00 p.m., and March 21, at 2:00 p.m.,

Xian Zhang has earned praise for her passionate musicality and elegant performances with orchestras from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. In fall 2009 she became music director of Italy’s Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano; her first concert as the ensemble’s music director designate took place in the Vatican City before the Pope and the President of Italy. She was previously associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic for three years.

Highlights of her current season include debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony and National Symphony. In past seasons she has led the London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among other ensembles.

Simone Dinnerstein has gained an international following through her intelligent, emotive concert performances, and her bestselling recordings of music by Bach and Beethoven. Her recent and upcoming performances include solo debuts with the Tokyo Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony and many other ensembles, and recitals at major Simone Dinnerstein venues in Vienna, Paris, London, Rome and New York City. In July 2009 she made her first appearance as soloist with the New York Philharmonic.

Dinnerstein has played concerts throughout the United States for the Piatigorsky Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing classical music to such non-traditional venues as nursing homes, schools, community centers and correctional institutions. In addition, she has founded P.S. 321 Neighborhood Concerts, an evening concert series at the Brooklyn public elementary school that her son attends and where her husband teaches fifth grade.

Energetic piano concerto and dramatic symphonies Mozart’s Prague Symphony reflect the title city’s beauty and goodwill toward the composer. It is a work of high spirits and drama, with glorious melodies that exude brilliance, power and grace. Fiery, expressive and energetic, Bach’s First Piano Concerto is the composer’s own transcription of a violin concerto that is now lost. Its grand scale suits the modern piano perhaps even more than the harpsichord of Bach’s day.

For tickets ranging $22 to $84 call the Minnesota Orchestra at 612-371-5656 or visit

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