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ABOUT SUNNY

Recognized for her innate musicality, compelling presence, and technical precision, conductor Sunny Xuecong Xia’s ability to forge an immediate and captivating connection with orchestras and audiences alike has led to engagements around the globe. Xia joined the Seattle Symphony at the beginning of the 2022/2023 season as Douglas F. King Assistant Conductor and was quickly promoted to Associate Conductor. In the 2023/2024 season, Xia leads the Seattle Symphony in over a dozen programs featuring soloists such as Conrad Tao, Noah Geller, and Mahani Teave, and makes her second appearance on the Celebrate Asia program.

Highlights of the 2022/2023 season include leading the world premiere of Seattle Symphony Composer-in-Residence, Angelique Poteat’s Dear Humanity for Youth Chorus and Orchestra, a work that harnesses the power of 50 voices and full orchestra to confront climate change, the Celebrate Asia program with violinist Kerson Leong, the Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop Concert that featured 10 world premieres, and numerous Community, Family, and School concerts. She has additionally assisted Dame Jane Glover at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2021/2022 season, Xia was named a Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where she made her festival debut leading the world premiere of Marc Migó Cortés' Dumka. She led a production of La bohème with the Chandler Opera Company to great success and appeared with double bassist Xavier Foley and violinist Eunice Kim in Foley’s poignant work For Justice and Peace. Additional engagements included Assistant Conductor of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra and Arizona Musicfest. In the 2020/2021 season, she appeared as guest conductor with the MusicaNova Orchestra and was invited to serve as Assistant Conductor at the National Music Festival and Pierre Monteux Music Festival.

Equally at home in the opera pit, prior to leading La bohème with the Chandler Opera Company, Xia has served as assistant conductor for productions of Così fan tutte, Hänsel und Gretel, Die Zauberflöte, The Juniper Tree, Le Rossignol and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. A dynamic interpreter of contemporary music, Xia has conducted works by Michael Abels, Katy Abbott, Quinn Mason, Gabriela Ortiz, Gabriella Smith, and Tan Dun, among others. She has previously led the Cleveland Institute of Music New Music Ensemble in series such as the Cleveland NEOSonicFest and CIM New Music Series and has over a dozen world premieres under her credit, including performances with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, MusicaNova Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony.

Xia holds a dual master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting and Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied under the tutelage of Carl Topilow and Jan Mark Sloman. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University where she studied under the guidance of Dr. Jeffery Meyer and Tito Muñoz. At Seattle Symphony, she is mentored by Conductor Emeritus, Ludovic Morlot. She is further kindly mentored by Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falleta, Cristian Măcelaru, Larry Rachleff, and Carl St.Clair. For three summers, she attended the Monteux School and Music Festival as a Kurt & Torj Wray Conducting Scholar where she studied with Michael Jinbo. An accomplished violinist, prior to becoming a conductor, Xia performed as a soloist with orchestras in China and Australia, including the symphony orchestras of Harbin, Zheijiang, Hunan and Guangxi, and the Concertante Ensemble. While attending Cleveland Institute of music, she served as concertmaster of the CIM Orchestra.

​Originally from Guangzhou, China, Xia relocated to Sydney, Australia at the age of 14 on a sponsorship from the Australian String Academy that allowed her to further her violin studies with Peter Shi-xiang Zhang and Charmian Gadd. A talented basketball athlete, she competed in the semi-professional New South Wales Metro Junior League before focusing primarily on her musical pursuits. When not performing or enjoying a pick-up game, Xia can be found reading, hiking, kayaking, or learning languages. She speaks Cantonese, English, Mandarin, and Teochew, and is improving upon her French, German, and Italian.

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