Biography

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 three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. His previous posts include Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Grand Teton Music Festival.

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 while collaborating with renowned soloists such as Renée Fleming and Itzhak Perlman. During the current and the coming seasons, Mr. Lecce-Chong makes his subscription debuts with the Colorado Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Xi’An Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Civic Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony. He is equally at home with opera repertoire, having built his opera credentials as staff conductor with the Santa Fe Opera and conducted Madama Butterfly at the Florentine Opera with the Milwaukee Symphony.

Also trained as a pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong champions the work of new composers and the need for arts education. With the Milwaukee Symphony, he helped create their first Composer Institute, providing performance opportunities for young American composers. In his leadership positions, he has curated and presented the works of both active and lesser-known composers, presenting the premieres of commissions by the Milwaukee Symphony, Eugene Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lecce-Chong has complemented his programming with a strong commitment to arts education for all ages. For four seasons, he provided artistic leadership for the Milwaukee Symphony’s nationally lauded Arts in Community Education program – one of the largest arts integration programs in the country. In his first season in Eugene, he has devoted his time to connecting the orchestra and community by launching a family concert series, creating a monthly Symphony Happy Hour and building collaborations with schools, human service agencies, and businesses.

Mr. Lecce-Chong is the recipient of several distinctions, including the prestigious Solti Foundation Award. A native of Boulder, Colorado, he began conducting at the age of sixteen and graduated from the Mannes College of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He has had the opportunity to work closely with many internationally celebrated conductors including Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Edo de Waart, and Manfred Honeck.

 (current as of July 2018)