Yi Zhang started to study violin at the age of five. Then began conducting studies under the guidance of Prof. Xu Xin and Prof. Ji Ruikai in Central Conservatory of Music Beijing in 1990. From 2000 to 2003, he pursued further education in Hochschule für Musik Saar, where he finished the graduate courses for conducting with Prof. Max Pommer. During his time being as the music conductor of the China Central Conservatory Youth Symphony Orchestra, He has conducted both Lang Lang and Yuja Wang’s first ever piano concerto.
As an influential conductor in China, Yi Zhang devoted himself in hundreds of concerts, operas and ballets. During the past two decades, he has conducted orchestras nationally and internationally, including but not limited China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Macau Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Cuba Symphony Orchestra and Kungliga Operan.
Through his intercontinental performance experience, Yi Zhang collaborated with numerous artists including Leonidas Kavakos, Emmanuel Pahud, Wenzel Fuchs, Renaud Capucon, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Myung Wha Chung, Sarah Chang, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, to name but a few.
Yi Zhang is favored by all Chinese composers including Ye Xiaogang, Chen Qigang and Julian Yu. He has conducted numerous premieres of important Chinese and Western programs, including the world premiere of the ballet Raise the Red Lantern in May 2001, the Chinese premiere of Mass in C Minor by Mozart (2012) and Stabat Mater by Rossini (2014) with Macau Symphony Orchestra.
He has recorded extensive discography including Ye Xiaogang’s New Music from China with Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra (by Wergo, Germany, 2002) and Britain Music with London Philharmonic Orchestra and cellist Qin Liwei (by DEECA, UK, 2013). In May 2012, he was given the Award of Outstanding Contribution at the Beijing Modern Music Festival for his efforts in showcasing modern Chinese music and musicians.
In November 2015, he led the National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra to the Palace of United Nations, where they presented a joint concert on behalf of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, commemorating the 65-year anniversary of Sino-Switzerland diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. In March 2017, Yi Zhang conducted the China NCPA Orchestra in Abu Dhabi Festival.
Known for his enthusiasm and passion, Yi Zhang has been invited and conducted in most national events, such as the celebrating performance for Hong Kong’s return in 2007 and opening ceremony of 2008 Olympic Games.He has conducted and recorded all music performances for the 2008 Beijing Olympic, including the theme song “You and Me” with Sara Brightman. For the past eight consecutive years, Yi Zhang’s yearend “Cross-year New Year Concert” have been a sold-out event in NCPA.