Eileen Delahunty, Producer, WQXR
Eileen Delahunty started her radio days in Boston working on the morning show at WBCN.
While the country has been absorbed with who next will be occupying the White House, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has already anointed its new leader for the next four years. Xian Zhang, the internationally acclaimed Chinese-American conductor, has her first concerts as music director of the NJSO this weekend.
The New York Times calls Zhang "a good choice for this orchestra" and "a pint-size bundle of energy." She has returned to the United States after a seven-year stay in Italy with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. But Zhang is no stranger to the New York area, she was given the post of assistant conductor at the New York Philharmonic in 2002, and then became the orchestra’s associate conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair. She is the first woman to lead the NJSO.
The NJSO and Zhang start their season together with an all-Tchaikovsky program featured during four concerts throughout the Garden State: Newark on Thursday, Princeton on Friday, New Brunswick on Saturday and Morristown on Sunday.
In the audio above, WQXR Senior Producer Eileen Delahunty spoke to Zhang at NJPAC during a break in the rehearsal on Wednesday. Below, listen to some excerpts from the rehearsal.
Tchaikovsky's Polonaise from Eugene Onegin
Tchaikovsky' Piano Concerto No. 1