The Santa Rosa Symphony announced today that they had selected Francesco Lecce-Chong as the orchestra’s next music director. The announcement comes at the conclusion of a year-long process that saw five highly-regarded contenders appear with the orchestra. Lecce-Chong will take up the position full-time in 2019–2020, to allow him to fulfill prior commitments, but he will conduct three concerts in 2018-19..
The San Francisco-born, Boulder-raised, 30-year-old conductor is already making an international career. He has been the music director of the Eugene Symphony for almost a year, where he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Marin Alsop and Giancarlo Guerrero among others who became sought after conductors. He will retain that position. He is Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and has guested with National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and St. Louis Symphony, as well as upcoming debuts with the Louisville Orchestra, the Louisiana Symphony, and the Xi-An Symphony.
SRS Principal Oboe and Music Director Search Committee member Laura Reynolds says, “Francesco is an inspiring presence on the podium, with deep commitment to the craft and a musical sense, or spirit, if you will, that invites players into a collaborative space to create our sound. I very much look forward to working with him!”
SRS Board Chairman Jamei Haswell says, “The Board’s vote was unanimous. He has the perfect balance of on-the-podium skills and off-the- podium passion for community outreach and music education. Francesco is an excellent communicator.”
Lecce-Chong becomes the orchestra’s fifth music director, succeeding Bruno Ferrandis, whose tenure comes to a close at the end of this season.
Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that Lecce-Chong was raised in Denver, instead of Boulder. Also, we omitted to state that he will conduct three concerts in Santa Rosa in 2018-19 before taking up the position full-time in 2019-2020.