Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle - (June 7, 2019)
"There was no mistaking the vitality and brilliance of the music-making [Lecce-Chong] drew from members of the San Francisco Symphony. He’s got a firm but flexible rhythmic control that allows him to shepherd an orchestra at top speed without losing a bit of precision, and he can shape big instrumental textures with a robustness and grace that is inspiring to behold"
Diane Peterson - The Press Democrat - (January 13, 2019)
Lecce-Chong left no doubt that the magic of his debut 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.
Steve Osborn - San Francisco Classical Voice - (October 8, 2018)
A large part of that optimism was due to Lecce-Chong’s presence at the podium throughout the concert. He conducted flawlessly in the first part of the program, but he really shone in the Beethoven. His crisp and precise beat was easy to follow, and his technique was exemplary. He highlighted stark contrasts between the legato and staccato passages, he let the syncopations ring out, and his dynamics were clearly evident. Moreover, he achieved all of this with minimal movement. He leaned forward and crouched down as necessary, but he was never showy. In the third and fourth movements, he was electric.
Terry McQuilkin - The Register Guard - (March 20, 2018)
"When the strings play Sibelius’ swelling melodic lines with heft and fervor, when the brass section delivers the finale’s famous tintinnabulary figure heroically without excessive assertiveness, and when the conductor is able to regulate perfectly the gradual but relentless increases in dramatic tension, the result is magic."
Terry McQuilkin - The Register Guard - (October 1, 2017)
"A certain amount of buzz always accompanies the appointment of a new symphony conductor, but, the level of enthusiasm for the Eugene Symphony’s new music director has been — in my observation — especially high. It’s clear that our Francesco Lecce-Chong’s evident personal warmth and his supercharged conducting style have helped feed that excitement. Local listeners already have had a couple of chances to watch him in action — at the orchestra’s concert in the park in July and at Sept. 19 concert with Renée Fleming. On Thursday, at the opening concert of the orchestra’s subscription series, Hult Center listeners seemed just as enthused about the 30-year-old conductor."
Tom Manoff - Oregon Artswatch - (March 21, 2017)
"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… Lecce-Chong has the real gift. He’s going to be a fast-rising talent in the music world."