Hailed as the “most powerful figure in China’s classical music scene” by The New York Times , the preeminent Chinese conductor Long Yu holds positions as the Music Director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Maestro Yu is the Founder of the Beijing Music Festival and was its Artistic Director from 1998 to 2018. He is the Co-Director of the MISA Summer Festival in Shanghai.
In the 2019/20 season, alongside his work in China, Maestro Yu makes guest appearances across the globe, including with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Taiwan Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Summer 2019 saw Maestro Yu lead the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on a tour of the USA and Europe, with performances at London’s BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Wolf Trap, and Ravinia Festival in addition to performances at the Lucerne Festival, Grafenegg Festival and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
In June 2018, Maestro Yu signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, which began a global release and distribution partnership. As part of the Deutsche Grammophon’s 120th anniversary celebrations in 2018/19, Maestro Yu conducted a spectacular launch concert in October at the site of Beijing’s historic Imperial Ancestral Temple at the Forbidden City, alongside artists such as Aida Garifullina and Daniil Trifonov.
Maestro Yu has conducted a highly-acclaimed list of orchestras and opera houses throughout the world including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC’s National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg State Opera, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Yu continues to collaborate frequently with many of the world’s most celebrated soloists such as Alison Balsom, Sumi Jo, Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Maxim Vengerov and Yuja Wang.
In 2008, the China Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Long Yu became the first Chinese orchestra in history to perform at the Vatican in the Paul VI Auditorium. The concert was attended by Pope Benedict XVI and marked a giant step in bringing eastern and western cultures closer together. In 2014, Maestro Yu and the China Philharmonic became the first Chinese conductor and orchestra to play the fabled BBC Proms series with a televised performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The concert was viewed by millions of people across the United Kingdom.
Leading the development of the orchestral landscape in China, Maestro Yu has created the nation’s first orchestral academy as a partnership between Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Conservatory, and the New York Philharmonic. His dynamic vision is focused on introducing China’s growing audiences to key Western repertoire including Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Mahler Cycle, as well as works of Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten, and many others. In 2014, the New York Philharmonic named Maestro Yu an honorary member of their International Advisory Board. The 12-member Board serves as a network of advocates and ambassadors connecting with individuals and institutions in their home countries to cultivate the Philharmonic’s long-term reach and influence worldwide.
Maestro Yu made his debut with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in 1993 and in 2003 became Music Director of the orchestra. During his time as Music Director, Maestro Yu has embarked on European and Egyptian tours with the orchestra, performing at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Conservatoire de Luxembourg, Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Cairo Opera House.
Born in 1964 into a musical family in Shanghai, Maestro Yu received his early musical education from his grandfather Ding Shande, a composer of great renown, and went on to study at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin. In 1992, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Central Opera Theatre in Beijing and served as its conductor for three consecutive years. He created opera productions for The Urban Council of Hong Kong for five successive years.
Maestro Yu is a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the recipient of the 2002 Arts Patronage Award of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation. In 2005, the Italian government honored Maestro Yu with the title of L’onorificenza di commendatore. He was awarded France's highest honor of merit by joining la Légion d’Honneur in 2014. The following year, Maestro Yu was awarded the prestigious Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council and the Samuel Simons Sanford Award from Yale’s School of Music in America. Most recently, he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2018, Long Yu was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Long Yu is currently Vice President of the Chinese Musicians Association.
You can see Yu Long in action at The New Zealand Herald Premier Series: Legends on Thursday 30 July.