Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong is the Music Director of the Eugene Symphony in Oregon, and the Santa Rosa Symphony, performing at the Green Music Center in Northern California. The press has described him as a “fast rising talent in the music world” with “the real gift” and recognized his dynamic performances, fresh programming, deep commitment to commissioning and performing new music as well as to community outreach. Mr. Lecce-Chong has appeared with orchestras around the world including the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic and collaborated with top soloists including Renée Fleming and Itzhak Perlman.
Following the paths of renowned Music Directors of the Eugene and the Santa Rosa Symphonies including Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero and Jeffrey Kahane, Mr. Lecce-Chong has made his mark with the two orchestras introducing a series of new music and community initiatives. In 2019, the orchestras announced Mr. Lecce-Chong’s “First Symphony Project” commissioning four major orchestral works by young composers—Matt Brown, Gabriella Smith, Angélica Negrón and Michael Djupstrom—to be performed over several seasons accompanied by multiple composer residencies and community events. In Eugene, he has reinitiated family concerts and presented a number of innovative projects such as an original multimedia performance of Scriabin’s compositions engaging light and color.
During his successful tenures as Associate Conductor with the Milwaukee Symphony under Edo de Waart and the Pittsburgh Symphony under Manfred Honeck, Mr. Lecce-Chong also dedicated his time to opera, building his credentials as staff conductor with The Santa Fe Opera and conducted Madama Butterfly at the Florentine Opera with the Milwaukee Symphony.
Mr. Lecce-Chong is the recipient of several distinctions, including the prestigious Solti Foundation Award. Trained also as a pianist and composer, he completed his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Otto-Werner Mueller after attending the Mannes College of Music and Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy. He has had the privilege of being mentored and supported by celebrated conductors including Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Edo de Waart, Manfred Honeck, Donald Runnicles and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Louis Schwizgebel has been described as “a genuine virtuoso, a spirited young genius with real depth” (Fono Forum) and an “insightful musician” (New York Times). He is praised repeatedly for his poise, elegance, imagination, expressive lyricism and crystalline articulation. He performs regularly in recital and with the finest orchestras across the globe and has received critical acclaim for his recordings.
Schwizgebel’s 2019–20 season included debuts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Bern Symphony orchestras in Europe, with Cincinnati Symphony, Omaha Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic orchestras in the US and further afield with the Tasmanian Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras.
In recent seasons, highlights have included performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre Orchestre National de France, National du Capitole de Toulouse, Danish National Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, City of Birmingham Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Utah Symphony, Nagoya and Shanghai Philharmonic orchestras. Conductors he has worked with include Gardner, Gražynite-Tyla, Krivine, Collon, Thierry Fischer, Dutoit, Luisi, Shani, Ticciati, Langrée, John Wilson, Gaffigan, Rouvali and Gabel amongst others.
Schwizgebel was born in 1987 in Geneva. He studied with Brigitte Meyer in Lausanne and Pascal Devoyon in Berlin, and then later at the Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax and Robert McDonald, and at London’s Royal Academy of Music with Pascal Nemirovski. At the age of seventeen he won the Geneva International Music Competition and, two years later, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. In 2012 he won second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition and in 2013 he became a BBC New Generation Artist.