Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong’s optimistic view of classical music today

Posted on: August 1, 2018

In Wednesday’s (8/1) Pittsburgh City Paper, Alex Gordon interviews Francesco Lecce-Chong, who is departing as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor after three years. Lecce-Chong is also music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony in California and Oregon’s Eugene Symphony. Q: What was your first impression of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra? Lecce-Chong: … It was an incredible feeling. I never felt an orchestra just dive into something with that much bravado before. Q: What makes you optimistic about the state of live classical music in 2018? Lecce Chong: Right now is the most exciting time for orchestras because [even though] we’re experiencing growing pains, we’re trying new things…. No matter where I am, if I’m in a taxi cab, if I’m in the airport, if I’m visiting an elementary school, there is never one single person I’ve met where I didn’t tell them what I do and they weren’t like, ‘Oh that’s awesome, I’d love to check that out.’ [At the Pittsburgh Symphony, when] I did the ‘Throne Room’ theme [from Star Wars] I had this little lightsaber baton and the audience went nuts….. Because I take John Williams seriously … they’re more willing to listen to me when I talk about … Alexander Scriabin.”

Posted August 1, 2018