MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR
A captivating presence on the podium, American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances, commitment to innovative programming, and passion for community engagement. As Music Director & Conductor of the Eugene Symphony, Lecce-Chong follows in the path of renowned predecessors including Marin Alsop and Giancarlo Guerrero.
He currently also holds the positions of Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Active as a guest conductor, he has appeared with orchestras around the world including the National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Also trained as a pianist and composer, Lecce-Chong champions the work of new composers and the need for arts education. As Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) from 2011-15, 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.
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. His dedication to connecting orchestras and communities continues in Pittsburgh where he gives preconcert talks, conducts concerts for school audiences, and leads specially designed sensory-friendly performances.
A native of Boulder, Colorado, Lecce-Chong began conducting at the age of sixteen. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He has worked with many internationally celebrated conductors including Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Edo de Waart, and Manfred Honeck.
Eugene Symphony Music Directors
Lawrence Maves, Founding Conductor (1966-1981)
William McGlaughlin (1981-1985)
Adrian Gnam (1985-1989)
Marin Alsop, Conductor Laureate (1989-1996)
Miguel Harth-Bedoya (1996-2002)
Giancarlo Guerrero (2002-2009)
Danail Rachev (2009-2017)
Francesco Lecce-Chong (2017-)