Prof Yan Huichang SBS
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Life
Yan Huichang is a Chinese music conductor of world renown. He has been with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra since June 1997.

Yan Huichang was conferred the title of National Class One Conductor at the First Professional Appraisal of China in 1987. Yan has received many accolades from the governments of different lands in honour of his contribution to the development of culture. He was awarded the ‘Cultural Medallion (Music)’ by the National Arts Council of Singapore in  September 2001. Yan was awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) and a Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS) by the Chief Executive of HKSAR in 2004 and 2018 respectively, in recognition of his remarkable achievements in Chinese music as well as his efforts in promoting Chinese music. In 2008, he won the Jurors’ Award for Conducting at the 6th China Gold Record Awards – Multi Arts Category. In May 2010, Yan was presented the Overseas Award for Music at the 51st Literary and Art Works Awards of the Chinese Writers’ & Artists’ Association (Taiwan), and in 2018, he won the Best Conductor Award at the Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music in Taiwan. In 2022, he was awarded ‘Distinguished Artist Award’ by the International Society for the Performing Arts, The 17th Hong Kong Arts Development Awards – Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts in 2023 etc.

The audio-visual products of different orchestras conducted by Yan have repeatedly been awarded conductor awards, including the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the China National Symphony Orchestra and the Central Opera Choir, National Orchestra and Chorus of the Xi'an Conservatory of Music and the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan. In 2017 and 18, Yan conducted the Shaanxi Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra and Jilin Chinese Orchestra to premiere National Arts Fund items Morning Star Lilies Forever and Red Sorghum, the performances gained great success and were selected as top ten excellent performance of the National Orchestra by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China.
Yan is dedicated to training talents and inheriting culture of Chinese music. In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and also appointed a Visiting Scholar of the Academy’s School of Music and conducted master classes in Conducting. In March 2012, he was invited to give master classes at the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles, the Conservatoire de Luxembourg, and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (which made him the first ever Chinese to hold such classes there). Yan was appointed Music Director of the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan in 2013 with a tenure up to 2017 and started the ‘Youth Conductor Training Program’. His contribution to nurturing conducting talents in Chinese music in Taiwan is widely recognized.

Yan is currently Director of Chinese National Orchestra Research Center of the He Luting Advanced Research Institute for Chinese Music of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Professor of its Conducting Department, Honorary Fellow of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Visiting Scholar in its School of Music, Distinguished Professor and Supervisor on the Master’s and Doctoral degree programmes at the Department of Chinese Music, the Laozi Academy of the Xi’an International University and Sehan University of South Korea, Principal Artistic Advisor of Wuxi Chinese Orchestra, and Visiting Professor or Adjunct Professor in many conservatories, Council Member of Chinese Musicians’ Association and National Commission of China Federation of Literary and Arts Circles, Honorary Music Director of the Shaanxi Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, etc. 
Yan Hunichang

Yan Huichang
Led by Yan, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra has been setting many milestones in Chinese music over the last 20 years or so. On the global front, it has been frequently invited to perform in arts and music festivals, and its artistic accomplishments have been endorsed by music professionals, the media and audiences worldwide. At its home base in Hong Kong, the Orchestra has seen omni-directional growth. Artistically, it has contributed to the Chinese music legacy by perpetuating its history of a thousand years, showcasing the spectrum of regional music on China’s vast territory, and commissioning new works. It has also reached out proactively to the world of Western music to explore new frontiers together – one outstanding example of which is the annual concert series, ‘Music About China’, now becoming a hallmark event of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra.

 It has also led the way in instrumental reform with its ‘Eco-Huqin’ series. In terms of education, the Orchestra was the first to initiate the Professional Orchestra Internship scheme through collaboration with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the establishment of the world’s first Chinese orchestral academy, The HKCO Orchestral Academy. In bringing Chinese music to a wider audience, the Orchestra has organized themed festivals based on instrumental types, such as huqin, drums, dizi and xiao, and zheng, etc. These instrumental festivals have achieved several Guinness World Records thanks to the keen participation of the people of Hong Kong. On a professional level, the Orchestra has hosted several international symposia on Chinese music and organisied ‘Master Classes on Chinese Music Conducting’ in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shenyang, Singapore and Xi’An. The Orchestra also hosted the first ever ‘International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music’ in the world which was commended by Zhao Jiping, Chairman of the Chinese Musicians’ Association, as “a milestone in the history of development of Chinese music”.

 Yan received five years of professional training in Chinese Music Conducting at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he was a pupil of the renowned conductor Xia Feiyun, and the famous composers Hu Dengtiao and He Zhanhao. He was appointed Principal Conductor-cum-Artistic Director of the Chinese National Orchestra of China upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree cum laude in 1983. It was followed by other positions in his music career, including as Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra and National Orchestra of the Beijing Concert Hall, Conductor and Head of the Research Centre, Department of Operatic Music of the Shaanxi Academy of the Arts, Resident Guest Conductor of Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra and Executive Committee member of China Nationalities Orchestra Society. He is now the Specially Invited Conductor of Chinese Music of the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra of China. As a conductor who has worked with all professional Chinese orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, Yan has won the acclaim of the music circles in China and abroad for his artistic and conducting talents. In addition to Chinese music, Yan has also been involved in music of other genres. The professional orchestras he has worked with include the China National Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra and Russian Philharmonic Orchestra of Moscow etc.

Apart from conducting on the concert stage, Yan is also actively engaged in composition and has won numerous awards. His representative works include the symphonic poem The Sound of Water which won a Class One Award in the Composition Contest of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Class Two Award in the Third National Music Composition Competition; and the pipa solo work Nostalgia which won a Class One Award at the First National Pipa Contest of Contributing Works. Many works written and arranged by him have been included in the stock repertoires of orchestras of China as well as other places. Some of the most representative pieces include Concerto for Erhu - Illusion, Sanxian Concerto – Nuo, Zheng Concerto - The Clouds and the Water of Rivers Xiao and Xiang and Buddhist music, The Weiyang Sect
Among the many recordings he has made, the symphonic piece, Buddha’s Story, and A Collection of Modern Erhu Music conducted by him won the Gold Tripod Award in Taiwan. Under his baton, and in collaboration with the famous composer Zhao Jiping, the Symphony Orchestra section of the China National Symphony Orchestra made the soundtrack recordings for such award-winning films as Raise the Red Lantern, Ballad of the Yellow River, and Five Girls and a Rope. In 1992, he resettled in Singapore and was the Music Director of Naxos (Singapore) Pte Ltd.. Between 1992 and 1993, Yan wrote and produced for recording release Clouds, The Moon, A Music Journey on the Yellow River and Song of the General. He was also highly commended for his conducting of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in a Chinese music recording released by BMG of Japan in 1994. He also conducted the China Broadcasts National Music Orchestra of Beijing, the Chinese National Orchestra, the Shanghai National Orchestra, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and the Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra in their recordings and albums.

Under his baton, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra has made more than thirty recordings, which include the world’s first ever SACD live recording by a full-scale Chinese orchestra entitled The HKCO Silver Jubilee Concert, The Magic Notes of Zhao Jiping, Golden Chinese Classics of the Century – The Award Winners Concert, Majestic Drums series, The Silk Road Fantasia Suite and In Search of Chinese New Music – Works by Doming Lam and Liu Bang, Xiang Yu and the Terra Cotta Warriors etc. In recent years, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra has been moving forward to promote the art of Chinese music with new media and online platforms, founding the HKCO Net Festival and Chinese Festive MV, the Orchestra also cooperated with an internet technology company in Hong Kong to create the world’s first ever ‘Net Concert Hall’, which aims to promote and develop Chinese music more comprehensively.

Musical precision and charm just defined the conductor of the orchestra, Yan Hunching.
Vancouver Sun
Bolstered by Yan Huichang’s mellifluous and coherent direction of the 88-member group, the music was cinematic.
Washington Post