One of China’s most prominent musicians will spend this year giving the Haifa music scene a boost.

Shanghai-based Xu Zhong, a world-renowned pianist and conductor, will serve as musical director for the Haifa Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-2014 season. The maestro is in the coastal northern Israeli city at the invitation of Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, who personally asked him to spend a year leading the city’s orchestra.

“It is a great honor for the Haifa Symphony Orchestra to have such a person of stature join as our musical director and chief conductor. I am sure Xu Zhong will lead us to new heights and greater accomplishments,” said Motti Eines, the general director of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra’s season opens October 6 and 7 at 8:30 p.m. at the Haifa Auditorium.