Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong Renews Contract with Eugene Symphony

At the conclusion of the 2023/24 season, Lecce-Chong will transition into a new role as Artistic Partner


Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has elected to spend another year at the Eugene Symphony, having recently signed a contract extension that will see him continue to lead the orchestra until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.

The following year, Lecce-Chong will accept a new title — as the orchestra’s Artistic Partner — and will conduct three of the ensemble’s major Symphonic Series concerts. Several other concerts in the 2024/25 season will be conducted by candidates vying to be appointed as Lecce-Chong’s successor.

Since his appointment in 2017, Lecce-Chong introduced multiple innovative programming concepts, such as the Symphony Happy Hour, a forum for casual pre-concert discussion that takes place in local bars. Through the First Symphony project, Lecce-Chong also commissioned works from four emerging American composers and conducted their premieres.

The personnel of the orchestra has been heavily influenced by Lecce-Chong, who has been responsible for the hiring of 30% of the group’s current players.

“Francesco’s musicianship, creative programming, and connection with the audience has raised the bar in every way, and we’re grateful to have another full season ahead with him, as well as his continued leadership throughout the search for his successor,” said Deb Carver, the President of the Eugene Symphony Association’s Board of Directors.

“I have always believed that the impact of an orchestra is not in a single performance, but in the possibility of building a stronger and more vibrant community,” said Lecce-Chong. “I am so grateful to have found such a community in Eugene and the passionate support for the orchestra here has been a constant source of inspiration for me.”

“It has been a thrill collaborating with my terrific colleagues on stage to bring meaningful and electrifying performances to our audiences. I look forward to many more in the two seasons ahead as we continue our work as one of the leading regional orchestras in the country.”

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