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Long Yu steps away as GSO's Music Director for 2 decades, passing the baton to young successor

Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra (GSO) held a series of events including a concert and a symposium to celebrate the 20th year of Maestro Long Yu as the GSO's Music Director at the end of May, 2023. 

After 20 years Long Yu decided to step away as GSO's Music Director this year. In the meantime, GSO has announced the 37-year-old Huang Yi as its new Music Director, officially starting from September 2023. 

Maestro Long Yu (Photo provided to GDToday)

Huang Yi (Photo provided to GDToday)

Maestro Long Yu's bond with GSO over the past 20 years

On the evening of May 30, Long Yu was granted the Honorary Music Director for Life by the Orchestra during the concert in celebration of his 20th anniversary with GSO. Maestro Yu will continue to be the chairman of the GSO's arts committee and take part in the Orchestra's development.

Hailed by The New York Times as "the most powerful figure in China's classical music scene," the 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 eminent musicians and composers.

As GSO's Music Director since 2003—an orchestra he first conducted in 1994—Maestro Yu has expanded the orchestra's repertory and touring outreach (to Europe, the US, Australia, Africa and the Middle East) as well as its educational mission. 

Between 2005 and 2007, led by Long Yu, the GSO organized the Canton International Summer Music Academy (CISMA) in Foshan, with a distinguished faculty including Martha Argerich and Gary Graffman. It was the first large scale international, professional music summer camp in China. 

In January 2017, driven by Maestro Long Yu, the GSO inaugurated Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG), a performance and educational initiative "opening a new page in the Chinese symphonic world" with Yo-Yo Ma as Artistic Director and Maestro Yu leading its Artistic Committee. The initiative was upgraded to the "Youth Music Culture the Great Bay Area (YMCG)" in 2023, with world-renowned conductor Daniel Harding being appointed as the Music Director of the initiative from 2024 to 2028. 

Long Yu (L) and Yo-Yo Ma (R) (Photo provided to GDToday)

Huang Yi to take up the Orchestra's podium in September

Conductor Huang Yi received the most votes among over 10 Chinese and foreign conductors nominated by the members of the Orchestra.

Huang will participate in GSO's new music season as Music Director-designate, and will officially take up the post from September 2023.

The young successor is currently the Principal Conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Principal guest Conductor of National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra and the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Kunming Nie'er Symphony Orchestra.

Huang's career started in 2009 as Maestro Seiji Ozawa's assistant conductor. In the year of 2012, he was recommended by Maestro Long Yu and made his opera debut conducting the China Philharmonic Orchestra at the 15th Beijing Music Festival's new production of Chinese opera The Savage Land. 

Also, since 2012, Huang Yi has been cooperating with GSO with more than 10 years as guest conductor. He has conducted 26 Chinese and foreign large-scale symphonic works with the Orchestra.

Author | Monica

Editor | Wing, Nan, Jerry

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