American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, currently associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, is active with the orchestral and operatic repertories on the international stage. 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. During the MSO’s 2012.13 season, Mr. Lecce-Chong took the podium for an acclaimed gala concert with Itzhak Perlman, led the orchestra through its statewide tour of Wisconsin, and conducted a special three-week series at Milwaukee’s Basilica of St. Josaphat.
A list of Mr. Lecce-Chong’s international appearances include leading the Hong Kong (China), Pitesti (Romania), and Ruse (Bulgaria) philharmonics and the Sofia Festival Orchestra (Italy). 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. Mr. Lecce-Chong is a 2012 recipient of The Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award and The Presser Foundation Presser Music Award. He is also the recipient of the N.T. Milani Memorial Conducting Fellowship and the George and Elizabeth Gregory Award for Excellence in Performance.
As a trained pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers and, by example, supports arts education. His 2012.13 season presentations included two MSO-commissioned works, two United States premieres, and twelve works by composers actively working worldwide. 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 (ACE) program – one of the largest arts integration programs in 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 renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. He currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Follow his blog, Finding Exhilaration, at www.lecce-chong.com.
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