A prominent figure in China’s classical music scene, conductor and impresario Long Yu has devoted his career to steering China’s growing connection to classical music while familiarizing international audiences with the country’s most eminent musicians and composers. Maestro Yu currently holds the top position in China’s three most prominent orchestras from north to south — artistic director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) in Beijing and music director of both the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras — as well as principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He is co-director of Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air festival and chair of the Artistic Committee of the Beijing Music Festival, an annual autumn event that he founded in 1998 and served as artistic director until 2017. He is currently vice president of the China Musicians Association and Chairman of its recently established League of China Orchestras.
Under Yu’s baton, the CPO became the first Chinese orchestra to perform at the Vatican’s Paul VI Auditorium, a concert attended by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2014 Yu led the CPO in the first Chinese orchestral performance at the BBC Proms in London.
Long Yu’s initiatives include founding the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, China’s first postgraduate training program for orchestral musicians, in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New York Philharmonic, which also named him an honorary member of its International Advisory Board. He also launched the biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition in 2016 and led the Artistic Committee of Youth Music Culture Guangdong, a performance and educational initiative inaugurated in 2017. In 2018, Yu became the first Chinese conductor to sign an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
He has conducted many highly acclaimed orchestras throughout the world. His honors include the Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Samuel Simons Sanford Award from the Yale School of Music; being named a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; receiving the title L’onorificenza di Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito from the Italian government; and being elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.