Jonathan Wentworth Associates
Jonathan Wentworth Associates








  Francesco Lecce-Chong


    American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has worked with orchestras around the world including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Newly appointed to the staff of the Pittsburgh Symphony as Assistant Conductor, he is also the Music Director of Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Lecce-Chong recently concluded a four-year appointment as Associate Conductor at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and held that same position at the Grand Teton Music Festival. 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 including the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award and The Presser Foundation Music Award. He has lead the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in subscription, tour, education, and community concerts, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman and Christopher Taylor. He has returned to Milwaukee in the last season for several guest engagements and made his opera debut with the Florentine Opera. Guest appearances also include the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Las Vegas Philharmonic.

    As a trained pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong embraces innovative programming, champions the work of new composers and, by example, supports arts education. 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 program - one of the largest arts integration programs in the country. He is a frequent guest speaker at organizations around Milwaukee and hosts, Meet the Music, the MSO's preconcert lecture series.

    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 currently works with world-renowned conductors Edo de Waart and Donald Runnicles.






    "Reveling in "Till's" rich orchestrations and expansive melodies, Lecce-Chong and the orchestra gave a thoroughly engrossing performance that was built of thoughtful, wonderfully communicative ensemble work across the orchestra... The MSO and Lecce-Chong, who conducted all but the concerto from memory, opened the program's second half with music from Mozart's "Idomeneo," bringing thoughtful music-making and tight ensemble work to the piece, along with a strong sense of drama. The "Rosenkavalier" suite that wrapped up the program was a festival of gorgeous melodies and spectacular orchestrations given a beautiful performance. Lecce-Chong and the orchestra gave a captivating performance of the piece, from the lilting waltz sections to the piece's most delicate, transparent moments. They used broad dynamic contrasts and liberally applied rubati and accelerandi for emphasis and direction, making transitions feel effortless."
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    "Lecce-Chong's exuberance and energy fit the Polonaise and the Sixth Symphony. He and the orchestra bought into its sonic brilliance and emotional extravagance and refreshed a too-familiar work... This expressive, Romantic music requires a good deal of shaping by the conductor. Lecce-Chong's assurance with the direction and weight of the phrase kept the music taut and flexible..."
    Third Coast Digest

    "Lecce-Chong, who stood at a harpsichord and played continuo lines as he conducted, gave a take-no-prisoners performance. His tempos were brisk, supported by thoughtful use of dynamics, beautifully crafted and nuanced phrases, and a fine balance among instrumentalists, chorus and soloists. Often segueing from one movement to the next without pause, he took a moment or two of silence only a few times during the performance. This translated not as a rushed, relentless or flippant performance, but as a committed, urgent, dramatic rendering of the piece."
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    "The concert's second half was filled by the artfully constructed Cherubini "Requiem in C minor." Lecce-Chong led the singers and players through a decisive, cohesive performance of the piece that drew significant power from its use of dynamic contrasts as well as shifts and contrasts in choral and orchestral color, moving from feathery vocal lines and transparent orchestral sounds to glorious, soaring, forte passages for full ensemble."
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    "Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong introduced violinist Augustin Hadelich as 'one of the greatest violinists of my generation' at Friday's Milwaukee Symphony concert. The 20-something Hadelich proved him right, with a completely engrossing rendition of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5. Hadelich didn't have the chance to return the compliment, and Lecce-Chong of course wouldn't say such a thing about himself. The MSO's 20-something assistant conductor didn't have to - he had just made a strong case with a remarkable reading of R. Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks. Lecce-Chong, conducting from memory and supremely confident, led an acutely alert and responsive orchestra through Strauss' mercurial 15-minute tone poem. Lecce-Chong attended to every strand in Strauss' densely woven texture, and his players rewarded him by investing all of them with vivid character. This Till Eulenspiegel burst with energy on the large scale and beguiled with subtlety on the small scale."
    Third Coast Digest