Welsh National Opera appoints first female conductor in residence

New Zealander Tianyi Lu joins WNO following an open call for aspiring women conductors

Credit: Antony Potts

A new role has been created at Welsh National Opera: female conductor in residence. This follows an open call earlier this year for aspiring female conductors, as part of WNO’s programme to work towards gender equality within the industry. Tianyi Lu has been appointed the residency's first recipient.


Born in Shanghai and raised in New Zealand, Tinayi Lu came to the attention of WNO in 2016 when she worked with the Youth and Community team on WNO Youth Opera’s production of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Kommilitonen!. She completed a Masters in Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, after having studied in Auckland and Melbourne. 

WNO’s conductor Carlo Rizzi described Lu as having ‘great musicality with a natural charisma on the podium’. Lu currently holds roles as assistant conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the St Woolos Sinfonia in Newport, having previously been the Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017/18.

Lu’s new role will begin this month, working closely with WNO’s music director Tomáš Hanus and the WNO Orchestra in the company’s main opera season, as well as youth and community projects. She will aid the music team on a productions of Verdi's Rigoletto and Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen, before starting work as assistant conductor of Bizet's Carmen. She will also be mentored by conductor Alice Farnham, who was curator of WNO’s symposium on women in music in 2018, which was responsible for the creation of this role.