Equally adept at conducting symphony, opera, and ballet, Judith Yan’s career has taken her internationally, conducting for major companies in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. She has held Staff Conductor positions at San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and National Ballet of Canada.
Her recent debuts were celebrated with critical acclaim: “In her Vancouver Opera debut, Canadian Conductor Judith Yan really shone in the pit, bringing extraordinarily lyrical and expressive playing from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.” (Vancouver Opera, La Boheme, Opera Canada 2018). “Under the direction of Canadian conductor Judith Yan, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra is simply wonderful.” (West Australian Ballet, Don Quixote, Greg Ross, 2018). “Judith Yan, her Seattle Opera debut, conducted the orchestra with vigour and deep sympathy for the score.” (Seattle Opera, An American Dream, Classical Voice America, 2017). “Under the baton of Judith Yan, the music just came to life.” (Kentucky Opera, Orfeo , Arts-Louisville Reviews). “The Edmonton Symphony played splendidly under Judith Yan…coaxed many vivid, dramatically transparent moments from the players.” (Edmonton Opera, La Traviata, Opera Canada 2019).
While with the San Francisco Opera, she served as Staff Conductor, assistant to Maestro Sir Donald Runnicles, where her performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for San Francisco Opera 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 she made her debut with Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. As the Principal Conductor of Opera on the Avalon since 2010, she has lead numerous productions including Ours, Shawnadithit, Tosca, La Boheme, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata, Albert Herring, and Dead Man Walking.
As a conductor of symphony, she served as the Artistic Director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra for 8 seasons, where she expanded the orchestra’s symphonic and operatic repertoire with works by composers Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass, Francis Poulenc, Leonard Bernstein. As a guest conductor, she has collaborated with orchestras such as Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Saskatoon Symphony.
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. She has been a frequent guest conductor with West Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and Korean National Ballet.
Recent performances include 3 critically acclaimed world-premieres: Jack Perla’s An American Dream for Seattle Opera and John Estacio’s Ours for Opera on the Avalon, Krzysztof Pastor’s Dracula for West Australian Ballet; company debuts with Vancouver Opera with La Boheme, Kentucky Opera for Orfeo, National Arts Centre Orchestra for Cynthia Harvey’s Sleeping Beauty, Teatr Wielki in Warsaw for Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew; and a return to West Australian Ballet and West Australian Symphony for La Bayadere, Hong Kong Ballet for Don Quixote and Korean National Ballet for Swan Lake.
2022/23 includes Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers with Opera on the Avalon, a return to San Francisco Opera Merola (production TBA), a debut with Opera Omaha with Suor Angelica, Madama Butterfly with New Orleans Opera, and a return to Saskatoon Symphony for 3 programmes, opening its 92nd season with a Canadian premiere of Gipps’s Symphony No. 2, Forsyth’s Viola Concerto, and a world-premiere of an SSO commission by Christos Hatzis, followed by two programmes of De Falla and Ravel, and Copland and Wagner, and the much anticipated world-premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s February for Opera on the Avalon.