Congratulations to our friend and HSO Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, on her recent and upcoming achievements in the world of classical music. Kuan recently conducted the American Composers Orchestra in Huang Ruo’s poignant opera “An American Soldier,” earning widespread acclaim for her masterful direction. The New York Times highlighted how her conducting allowed Huang’s music to “simmer out of the spotlight, allowing the storytelling to come to the fore,” while The Wall Street Journal praised her skillful pacing, noting how her direction “wound up the opera’s tension and managed its brief intervals of release.” Carolyn’s exceptional artistry continues to bring powerful and important stories to life, resonating deeply with audiences and critics alike.

In addition to her recent success, Carolyn Kuan is set to make a notable impact on the classical music world with two highly anticipated debut performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. These invitations underscore her exceptional talent and versatility as a conductor.
CSO Tchaikovsky Spectacular
On Sunday, July 28, 2024, Carolyn will lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in a spectacular Tchaikovsky-themed concert at the Ravinia Festival. The program opens with Act I from Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet, “The Nutcracker,” followed by the evocative Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35, featuring soloist Desirée Ruhstrat of the Lincoln Trio. Ruhstrat, celebrated for her “intensive fire and assuredness” by the Berlin Tagesspiegel, will also make her CSO debut. The evening will culminate in the rousing 1812 Overture, complete with the cannon fire.
Ruo’s M. Butterfly with the BBC Symphony
Then, on October 25, 2024, Carolyn will conduct the UK premiere of Huang Ruo’s operatic adaptation of “M. Butterfly” at Barbican Hall. This performance, co-produced by the Barbican and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, reimagines David Henry Hwang’s acclaimed Broadway play and film. The opera, set against the backdrops of Paris and Mao’s China, explores themes of love, betrayal, and self-deception, challenging stereotypes and realigning power dynamics. This poignant and innovative production promises to be a powerful addition to the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 2024/25 Barbican season, with Kuan at the helm.