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Eugene Symphony Scores A New Conductor

Brian Bull

After more than a year of searching, the Eugene Symphony has announced its new music director and conductor.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.


The search committee reviewed 250 applications from 34 states and 44 nations, before choosing Francesco Lecce-Chong.  He’s been the Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

Lecce-Chong says he’s ready to jump in and engage the arts community.

“I won’t go full out right away, as far as really, really going adventurous in my programming," Lecce-Chong tells KLCC.  "But over time I want to build that level of trust so that people understand what we’re going to do.” 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Francesco Lecce-Chong (second from right) with Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinnis, Roger Saydock (second from left) and Matthew Shapiro, President of the Board of Directors (first from right).

Matthew Shapiro is President of the symphony’s Board of Directors.  He says all three finalists were great, but Lecce-Chong shined through a program he did, featuring works by Bartok and Mozart.

“The concert was amazing. Particularly the last piece that he played, he got the most absolute, amazing standing ovation," he says.  

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Fans and supporters of the Eugene Symphony gather in the Hult Center to hear today's announcement.

"I think he just pulled the audience into the music with him.” 

Audiences will get to see Lecce-Chong’s premiere with the Eugene Symphony on July 22nd at Cuthbert Amphitheater.

WEB EXTRA: Hear an extended conversation between KLCC's Brian Bull and Francesco Lecce-Chong at today's event.  He describes how he responded to the news of being chosen, and what intriguing and experimental piece he plans to share with audiences in a future program.


Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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