American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances combined with a deep commitment to nurturing the art form. He has appeared with orchestras around the world, including the Atlanta, National, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and St. Louis symphony orchestras and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and has collaborated with renowned soloists such as Renée Fleming and Itzhak Perlman. He is equally at home with operatic repertoire, having served as staff conductor with Santa Fe Opera and leading Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at Florentine Opera with the Milwaukee Symphony.
Following successful tenures as associate conductor with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under Edo de Waart and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck, Mr. Lecce-Chong now serves as music director of the Eugene Symphony as well as the Santa Rosa Symphony, where he has been dedicated to innovative programming; new-music initiatives, including commissions; and community outreach. Most recently, both orchestras announced his “First Symphony Project,” commissions of four major American orchestral works to be performed over the next four years, accompanied by multiple composer residences and community events. In addition, the Santa Rosa Symphony will present its first-ever opera in concert during the 2020–21 season under Mr. Lecce-Chong’s leadership. He is also committed to the training and championing of young orchestral musicians, having served as music director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra for three years and working with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the New World Symphony.
Mr. Lecce-Chong’s 2018–19 season includes subscription debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Louisville, Louisiana Philharmonic, and China’s Xi’An Symphony orchestras, and returns to the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Milwaukee and San Diego Symphony orchestras. The 2019–20 season marks his New York Philharmonic debut.
Francesco Lecce-Chong is the recipient of several distinctions, including the prestigious Solti Foundation Award. Also trained as a pianist and composer, he completed his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Otto-Werner Mueller after attending the Mannes College of Music and Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy. He has been mentored and supported by celebrated conductors such as Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Edo de Waart, Manfred Honeck, Donald Runnicles, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
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