American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, currently Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO), has worked with orchestras around the world including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Pitesti Philharmonic (Romania), and Ruse Philharmonic (Bulgaria). Equally at ease in the opera house, Mr. Lecce-Chong has served as principal conductor for the Brooklyn Repertory Opera and as staff conductor and pianist for the Santa Fe Opera. He has earned a growing reputation and critical acclaim for dynamic, forceful performances that have garnered national distinction including the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award and The Presser Foundation Music Award. Upcoming engagements include serving as Associate Conductor at the Grand Tetons Music Festival in the summer of 2014 and guest appearances with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and Breckenridge Music Festival.
In his role with the MSO, Mr. Lecce-Chong works closely with renowned Music Director Edo de Waart and is directly responsible for leading over forty subscription, tour, education and community concert performances annually. In his acclaimed subscription appearances with the MSO, he has collaborated with soloists such as Itzhak Perlman, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Augustin Hadelich, and Joyce Yang. In addition, Mr. Lecce-Chong curates and conducts a special three-week series at venues around Milwaukee using thematic elements to draw together a diversity of works from outside the standard repertoire.
As a trained pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers and, by example, supports arts education. He brings the excitement of new music to audiences of all ages through special presentations embodying diverse program repertoire and the use of unconventional performance spaces. Mr. Lecce-Chong also provides artistic leadership for the MSO’s nationally lauded Arts in Community Education program – one of the largest arts integration programs in the country. He is a frequent guest speaker at organizations around Milwaukee and hosts, Meet the Music, the MSO’s preconcert lecture series.
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, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors in piano and orchestral conducting. Mr. Lecce-Chong also holds a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied as a Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellow with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.