Xu Zhong © Shu Xiaoning

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama appoints first International Chair of Opera representing Asia

The world-renowned pianist and conductor has a remarkable resume as  Dean of Soochow University School of Music, Chief Conductor of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, President of Shanghai Opera House and Principal Director of Fondazione Arena di Verona. He was also Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Israel Haifa Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor of Teatro Massimo Bellini.

It is this breadth of knowledge and experience the RWCMD looks forward to drawing upon, particularly in enhancing understanding of the connection between music and drama in opera. The appointment will also bring the musical worlds of Wales and China closer together.

‘As an outstanding musician and impresario his expertise is the perfect fit for our spirit of excellence. He brings extraordinary industry knowledge and creativity and will help us to further diversity in the field of opera,’ said RWCMD Principal Helena Gaunt. ‘He will also act as a mentor for the new generation of performers, designers and technicians who train here.’

Xu Zhong said, ‘I am very honoured and thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with RWCMD.

‘The College has an exceptional vision for creative excellence through international collaboration and is uniquely positioned to offer a world-class training environment which covers the full spectrum of creative disciplines in music and drama, and in particular opera, including directing, designing and producing.

‘I will help RWCMD nurture singers and performers in opera and drama in collaboration with the David Seligman Opera School’s Artistic Director John Fisher and Cardiff Singer of the World’s David Jackson as well as production talent for the future.‘

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Professor Helena Gaunt has been appointed Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD). Currently Vice Principal and Director of Innovation at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Professor Gaunt will take up the post from Interim Principal, Professor George Caird, on 1 September 2018.