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American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, active with both the orchestral and opera repertory on the international stage, currently serves as Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Mr. Lecce-Chong works closely with renowned Music Director Edo de Waart, and leads over forty performances annually including subscription, tour, education, and community concerts. During the 2012-13 season, he led the MSO in an acclaimed gala concert with Itzhak Perlman, on a statewide tour of Wisconsin, and in a special three-week series at the Basilica of St. Josephat.

Mr. Lecce-Chong has appeared with international orchestras including the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (China), Pitesti Philharmonic (Romania), Ruse Philharmonic (Bulgaria), and the Sofia Festival Orchestra (Italy). Equally comfortable in the opera house, he has served as principal conductor for the Brooklyn Repertory Opera, and worked as a staff conductor and pianist for the Santa Fe Opera. His dynamic performances and growing reputation have brought distinction, including a Career Assistance Award from The Solti Foundation and the Presser Music Award from The Presser Foundation.

Trained as a pianist and composer, Mr. Lecce-Chong has championed the works of new composers while embracing innovative programming. During the 2012-13 season alone, he presented two works commissioned by the MSO, two U.S. premieres, and a dozen works by active composers around the world. His diverse programming, use of unconventional performance spaces, and special presentations have brought the excitement of new music to audiences of all ages. Mr. Lecce-Chong also provides artistic leadership for the MSO’s Arts in Community Education program, one of the largest orchestra-led education programs in the country. He gives over twenty in-school presentations each season and leads concerts that serve more than 20,000 students. He is a frequent guest speaker at organizations around Milwaukee and hosts the MSO’s preconcert lecture series.

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Mr. Lecce-Chong began his conducting work at age sixteen. He is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree with honors in both piano and orchestral conducting, and was also the recipient of the N.T. Milani Memorial Conducting Fellowship and the George and Elizabeth Gregory Award for Excellence in Performance. Mr. Lecce-Chong also holds a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller as the recipient of the Martin and Sarah Taylor Fellowship. He currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and can be followed on his blog, Finding Exhilaration, at