Music Director & Conductor, Eugene Symphony
Music Director & Conductor, Santa Rosa Symphony
American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances, commitment to innovative programming and profound engagement in community outreach. In the 2017-2018 season Mr. Lecce-Chong was appointed Music Director & Conductor of the Eugene Symphony, following in the paths of renowned predecessors including Marin Alsop and Giancarlo Guerrero. In the same season, he became the winning Music Director candidate of the Santa Rosa Symphony, a post he assumes in 2018-2019.
In summer 2018, he concludes his tenure as Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with an all-Brahms program. His previous posts include Principal Conductor of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony under Edo de Waart.
Active as a guest conductor, he has appeared with orchestras around the world including the National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic and collaborated with renowned soloists such as Renée Fleming and Itzhak Perlman. In the coming year, Mr. Lecce-Chong makes his subscription debuts with the Louisville Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Xi’An Symphony Orchestra, as well as returns to the Civic Orchestra in Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony.
Mr. Lecce-Chong is equally at home with opera repertoire, having built his opera credentials as staff conductor with Santa Fe Opera and conducted Madama Butterfly with the Milwaukee Symphony at the Florentine Opera. In Europe, he took part in masterclasses at the Lucerne Festival under Bernard Haitink as well as with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. He has worked closely with a number of internationally celebrated conductors including David Zinman, Edo de Waart, and Manfred Honeck.
Also trained as a pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong champions the work of new composers and the need for arts education. As Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO), he curated and presented the works of both active and lesser-known composers, including two works commissioned by the orchestra, as well as two U.S. premieres. He also helped create the first MSO Composer Institute, providing performance opportunities for young American composers. Mr. Lecce-Chong has complemented his programming with a strong commitment to arts education for all ages. In Milwaukee, he provided artistic leadership for the MSO’s nationally lauded Arts in Community Education program–one of the largest arts integration programs in the country. His dedication to connecting orchestras and communities continues in Pittsburgh where he gives preconcert talks, conducts concerts for school audiences, and leads specially designed sensory-friendly performances.
Mr. Lecce-Chong is a native of Boulder, Colorado, where he began conducting at the age of sixteen. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller.
Francesco Lecce-Chong launches ambitious “First Symphony” project with the Eugene and Santa Rosa Symphonies
(Santa Rosa, Calif.) — Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS), in partnership with Eugene Symphony, will launch the First Symphony Project in the fall of 2019. Four acclaimed American composers have been co-commissioned by the Santa Rosa Symphony, Eugene Symphony and nine patron...
Francesco Lecce-Chong will make his Colorado Symphony conducting debut at Boettcher Concert Hall this weekend. He stands in on short notice for the orchestra’s Music Director Brett Mitchell who withdrew due to illness. The concerts, on May 25, 26 and 27th, feature...
IMG Artists is proud to announce that Francesco Lecce-Chong has been appointed the fifth Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony beginning with the 2018-2019 season. Lecce-Chong, a San Francisco-born, Boulder, Colorado native, will continue his tenure as Music...
“Lecce-Chong has the real gift. He’s going to be a fast-rising talent in the music world.”
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4).
-San Francisco Classical VoiceSteve Osborn
“Lecce-Chong left no doubt that the magic of his debut [with the Santa Rosa Symphony] was no fluke. Even without a romantic warhorse like Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, he proved his mettle by pouring new life into Mozart’s tragic Symphony No. 40 and artfully molding the pacing and phrasing of Mahler’s idyllic Symphony No. 4.”
– The Press DemocratDiane Peterson
“Lecce-Chong’s concern for the Viennese style was particularly important with the last piece, Richard Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Many American orchestras have difficulty with Viennese phrasing… In 15 years observing the orchestra, I’ve never heard the ESO perform with a true Viennese phrasing, melody somehow joyous and bittersweet, leaning here and there on melodic motives and chromatic lines. But on this night, Lecce-Chong brought Vienna to Eugene. Conducting from memory, he led his musicians with apparent ease, shaping lines, balancing timbres and cuing entrances with precision. There were lovely Viennese moments when he expanded a phrase’s rhythm, then pulled it back in. This was the conductor’s real interpretation of the work, not merely a reading from an orchestra he had just met.”