Welsh National Opera has announced Tianyi Lu as the first Female Conductor in Residence. This follows an open call for aspiring conductors to apply for the post and an audition process with WNO Orchestra earlier this year.
Described by WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi as having ‘great musicality with a natural charisma on the podium’, Tianyi Lu is the first recipient of this residency, launched by WNO to help re-address the gender balance across the industry. The scheme was developed following WNO’s ‘Where Are All the Women’ symposium in 2018 during which a panel of women and delegates shared experiences on challenges facing women in the classical music industry.
Born in Shanghai and raised in New Zealand, Tianyi Lu studied in Auckland and Melbourne before completing a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) with Distinction in 2015. It was at RWCMD that Tianyi first established a connection with WNO when working with the Youth and Community team on WNO Youth Opera’s award-winning production of Kommilitonen! in 2016.
Tianyi Lu is currently the Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Conductor of the St. Woolos Sinfonia based in Newport, south Wales, and was a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017/18. Her recent highlights include concerts with the Gulbenkian Orchestra with Carolin Widmann both in Lisbon and on tour in Portugal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Bucharest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Hallé Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia.
The WNO Conductor in Residence scheme aims to equip aspiring female conductors with the necessary training and experience to pursue conducting careers. It will involve working closely with WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanusand the WNO Orchestra across a range of repertoire, including main scale opera, as well as youth and community projects.
The 18 month programme also offers Tianyi the opportunity to be mentored by British conductor Alice Farnham. Farnham was curator of WNO’s symposium on women in music in 2018, and is artistic director of the Women Conductors programme at the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Tianyi Lu begins her residency this August, working with Music Director Tomáš Hanus, WNO Associate Conductor Harry Ogg and the WNO music team on a new production of Carmen as well as observing preparatory work on Rigoletto and The Cunning Little Vixen. Tianyi will be Assistant Conductor for the Spring performances of Carmen, conducting two performances at the Liverpool Empire on March 26th and 28th and will be involved in the season’s Youth and Community Projects.