Artistic Director

Judith collage

Judith Yan, Biography    

Judith Yan is the Artistic Director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera on the Avalon.  Equally adept at conducting opera, ballet, and symphony, her career has taken her internationally, conducting for major companies in Europe, Asia, and North America. She has held Staff Conductor positions at the San Francisco Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and the National Ballet of Canada.

As Artistic Director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra since 2011, she expanded the orchestra’s symphonic and operatic repertoire with works by composers Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass, Francis Poulenc, Leonard Bernstein, added operatic repertoire by composers Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, and Strauss, and created the unique Triple-Feature “Ballet, Opera, and Symphony” Gala.

With the San Francisco Opera, she served as Staff Conductor, assistant to Maestro Donald Runnicles. While with SFO, her performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for San Francisco Opera (Merola) was included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top Ten Classical Performances of the Year. Prior to San Francisco Opera, she served as the first Conductor-in-Residence of the Canadian Opera Company, where her performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia garnered critical acclaim. She made her German conducting debut at Ulmer Oper with Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Mozart’s Idomeneo, and her Italian debut in 2007 in Sulmona, Italy with Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She returned the following season to conduct Puccini’s La Boheme. As the Principal Conductor of OOTA, she has lead numerous productions including La Boheme, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata, Albert Herring, Dead Man Walking,

As a conductor of ballet, she has conducted over 90 performances at the Four Season’s Centre for the National Ballet of Canada, working with the world’s foremost choreographers including John Neumeier, Ronald Hynd, and James Kuldelka.  With NBoC and as a guest internationally, she has conducted the ballets of Balanchine, Cranko, Kiliàn, Lander, Stowell, Wright, and Grigorovich. Since 2010, she has had a close association with Hong Kong Ballet, conducting the company’s production of Swan Lake as well as premiering all four of the company’s most recent productions of Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, and Don Quixote. In 2014, she made her Seoul conducting debut with Korean National Ballet’s La Bayadère, returning in 2015 to conduct Giselle and Swan Lake.

Recent performances include 2 world-premieres: Jack Perla’s An American Dream for Seattle Opera and John Estacio’s Ours for Opera on the Avalon, debuts with National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa for Sleeping Beauty, Teatr Wielki in Warsaw for The Taming of the Shrew, and West Australian Ballet for Don Quixote, Verdi’s Requiem with GSO, and a return to Korean National Ballet for La Bayadère.

She looks forward to a 2017/18 season that includes An American Dream for Seattle Opera, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for GSO, Tosca and Dead Man Walking for Opera on the Avalon, Le Corsaire for Hong Kong Ballet, Swan Lake for Korean National Ballet, and a return to West Australian Ballet for the premiere of Krzysztof Pastor’s Dracula.

Judith is fluent in both English and Cantonese.

She was a student of the late Maestro Pierre Hétu.

November 2017


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