Praised for electrifying performances, Interlochen Orchestra conductor Leslie B. Dunner maintains an active performance life in addition to bringing a wealth of experience to Interlochen. In addition to 11 years of collaboration with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, his concert engagements have included the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Seattle symphony orchestras; as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic, among others. He has conducted in Canada, Estonia, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and Ukraine. His 2022–23 highlights include conducting The Kennedy Center’s Dance Festival, Reframing the Narrative, Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdammerung in Newark, Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri in Tulsa, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in Oakland, the Calgary Philharmonic’s opening concert, and two concert programs with the New York Philharmonic as part of the inaugural season in the new David Geffen Hall.
Dunner was principal conductor at Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Louisville Ballet, interim music director of Orquesta Filarmónica in Guadalajara, and music director of the Joffrey Ballet and Annapolis, Dearborn, and Nova Scotia symphony orchestras. He’s conducted the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Michigan Opera Theatre, London’s Royal Ballet, Birmingham’s Royal Ballet, and South African Ballet Theatre, among others nationally and abroad. On tour he has appeared at festivals across the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, South America, the former Soviet Union, and South Africa, and in special performances for Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, and the G7 Summit with President Clinton. He has had audiences with South Africa’s presidents F. W. De Klerk, Nelson Mandela, and Jacob Zuma, and has met Desmond Tutu.
The first American prize-winner of the Toscanini International Conducting Competition, Dunner is a recipient of Leonard Bernstein’s American Conductors Award and the NAACP’s James Weldon Johnson and Distinguished Achievement Awards. He is interim director of Chicago’s South Shore Opera and resident conductor of New Jersey’s Trilogy Opera Company. At Long Beach Opera Dunner led Anthony Davis’s The Central Park Five, which received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Leslie Dunner composes and performs as a clarinetist. He has played clarinet for Traverse City productions of the musicals Elf, Cinderella, and Chicago.