2018 Honorary Doctorate
Hailed the “most powerful figure in China’s classical music scene” by The New York Times, the preeminent Chinese conductor Mr Yu Long holds positions as Chairman of the Artistic Committee of the Beijing Music Festival, Artist Director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras, the co-director of MISA Shanghai Summer Festival, and the principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr Yu frequently conducts the leading orchestras and opera companies around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC’s National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg State Opera, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. In 2008, the China Philharmonic Orchestra became the first Chinese orchestra in history to perform at the Vatican in the Paul VI Auditorium under the baton of Maestro Long Yu. The Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended the concert and marked a giant step in bringing Eastern and Western cultures closer together. In 2018, Mr Yu signed a recording deal with Deutsche Grammophon for a 3-year global release and distribution partnership along with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra which is under the leadership of him.
Career of Mr Yu has included both artistic and leadership appointments. In 1992, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Central Opera Theatre in Beijing and was involved in the planning of the Chinese New Year’s Concert series later that year. He served as its conductor for three consecutive years. Mr Yu later created opera productions for The Urban Council of Hong Kong for five successive years. In 1998, he led the creation of the Beijing Music Festival and was its Artistic Director for 20 years. Under his leadership, the Beijing Music Festival is now regarded as one of the world’s most important music festivals. In 2005, with the provincial government's support, he built up the Canton International Summer Music Academy and became its Chairman for the following three years. He also established the MISA Shanghai Summer Music Festival in 2010 and later that year, the Canton Asian Music Festival.
Mr Yu has long been a staunch supporter of the School of Music of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, inspiring the young musicians of the School. Mr Yu worked with music students of the Academy on various occasions back in 1990s, including as conductor of the key concert of the 1997 Academy Music Festival, the highlight of which was a work commissioned by the School’s former Head of Composition, which was performed by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in conjunction with students of the School at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. This joint collaboration was one of the events held in celebration of the reunification of Hong Kong with the Mainland. In 2014, he conducted the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with soloist Johnson Li, a piano student in the School’s Junior Programme.
Born in 1964 into a musical family in Shanghai, Mr Yu received his early musical education from his grandfather Professor Ding Shande, a composer of great renown, and went on to study at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin. The recipient of countless international awards, Mr Yu has earned the 2002 Arts Patronage Award of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, the Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2003, and the title of L’onorificenza di commendatore by Italian President Silvio Berlusconi in 2005 for his outstanding contribution in the field of music and culture. In 2014, he was awarded France's highest honour of merit by receiving Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur from the French government. He was also awarded a Global Citizen Award by the Atlantic Council and the Sanford Medal by Yale University’s College of Music in 2015. In 2016, Mr Yu was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and later that year he received The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Back home in China, Mr Yu was named the 2010 Person of the Year in the Arts Field in addition to receiving the 2013 China Arts Award and being awarded with an Honorary Academician from the Central Conservatory of Beijing for his great dedication to cultural exchange and music development in the Mainland. Mr Yu is currently Vice President of the Chinese Musicians Association.