American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has worked with orchestras around the world including engagements with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. With the start of the 2015-16 season, he begins his new position as Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra after serving four years as Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). He has also been named Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lecce-Chong will return to the MSO throughout the season for several guest engagements and will make his opera debut with the Florentine Opera. He also will continue as Associate Conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival.
Mr. Lecce-Chong has earned a growing reputation and critical acclaim for dynamic, forceful performances, garnering national distinction, including the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award and The Presser Foundation Music Award. He has also been featured in masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, David Robertson, and Christopher Seaman, while working with the St. Louis Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich.
As a trained pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers, and supports arts education. While working with the 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 – and he continues to be a frequent guest speaker for arts organizations around the country.
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 Otto-Werner Mueller. He has been mentored by many world-renowned conductors, including Edo de Waart and Donald Runnicles, with whom he continues to maintain a close working relationship.
(Current as of June 2015)