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 some of the country’s most celebrated musicians and composers. Maestro Yu holds the top position in China’s leading orchestras, serving as artistic director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), music director of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), and principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. After 20 years, he recently stepped down as music director of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and is now honorary music director for life and chair of the artistic committee. 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 for 20 years. He is currently vice president of the China Musicians Association and chairman of its recently established League of China Orchestras.
In the 2023–24 season Long Yu’s international guest engagements include The Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. At home he performs with renowned artists including pianist Stephen Hough, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, baritone Matthias Goerne, and soprano Olga Peretyatko, among others. In November 2023 he led the world premiere of Émigré — composed by Aaron Zigman and lyrics by Mark Campbell and Brock Walsh — with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO); he also leads the work’s US premiere with the New York Philharmonic, which co-commissioned the work with the SSO.
In 2014 he led the CPO at London’s BBC Proms, marking the festival’s first orchestral performance by a Chinese ensemble. He also founded the Shanghai Orchestra Academy — China’s first postgraduate training program for orchestral musicians — in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and New York Philharmonic, which he serves as an honorary member of the International Advisory Board. In 2016 he launched the biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
Long Yu’s honors include the Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Samuel Simons Sanford Award from the Yale School of Music, a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 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.
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