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FRANCIS LÉGER

“With Léger on the podium, orchestras deliver exciting and lucid performances, often distinguished by their expressive content, coherence, and refinement.” - Fondazione RAS, Italy

"Rarely have I heard such emotion." - Franco Ferrara

Recognized as a gifted interpretive artist, cellist and conductor        Francis Léger has a track record of transforming and building orchestras, and of exciting American and international audiences with profoundly moving performances.

Léger has built upon an enormous range of experience. In Prague, he is Principal Guest Conductor  of the Czech Chamber Philharmonic, and the first non-Czech to hold the position. In Italy, he was Music Director of the Rome Philharmonic Orchestra and the driving force behind an ambitious initiative to raise the Philharmonic’s performance, stature and position. In China, he first garnered international attention in 1994, and became one of the first Americans to guest conduct the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Léger’s trademark is a most unusual combination of meticulous technical preparation, sincere and passionate musicality, and what might be called a mature, level headed, yet dynamic charisma. This along with his refreshing lack of inclination for aggressive self-sell, is an “outward and honest expression of true openness, generosity and professional stability of personality." His managerial capability does as much as his podium persona to win the trust of orchestras and singers, and inspire them to throw themselves into passionate professional performance. His thorough and disciplined preparatory work can be an exciting technical and cultural encounter for the orchestra and audiences alike.

Léger’s work has taken him to major cities including Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Barcelona, and Rome where he also has been a Visiting Artist and Scholar at the American Academy in Rome. As Special Guest Conductor and Composer at the International Shanghai Television Festival, he served as Music Director for classical programming and conducted nationally televised orchestra concerts featuring the highly acclaimed pianist Xiang-Dong Kong. The concerts included world premieres and were broadcast to wide audiences throughout China.

Léger’s experience extends to working with foreign dignitaries, diplomats, and government officials, along with community, business and cultural leaders to encourage appreciation and advocacy for classical music. Recently, he returned to Asia to give performance masterclasses and serve as guest speaker at a National Piano Teachers Training Program in Shanghai. There he delivered an address entitled, "Twenty-first Century Music Leadership" to over 150 piano teachers from all across China.

Léger has conducted in Canada and the United States working with symphony orchestras and chamber orchestras throughout the northeast and in the southwest. He has conducted ballet, and served a five-year tenure in music and opera production at the Opera Company of Boston under Sarah Caldwell. He held conducting positions with other opera companies such as American National Opera, the Austin Lyric Opera, Opera New England, Hartt Opera Theater in Connecticut, and made his opera debut conducting Donizetti's "Daughter Of The Regiment" at the historic Central City Opera Festival in Colorado.

Along with appearances as a concert cellist and chamber musician, Léger performed in the United States with orchestras in New York and New England, and at important venues such as The Esplanade in Boston and Lincoln Center in New York. He holds the rare distinction of having performed as a professional cellist and trumpet player early in his career, and was a founding member of the Barre Quartet.

For young people, he collaborated with British writer and director David Owen-Bell and composed the musical score for a stage production based upon Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic collection of poems, “A Child’s Garden of Verses”. Léger has served music consultancies in Asia, the United States, and Europe, and has taught students at all levels. He has conducted conservatory and university orchestras, internationally and in the United States as music director and guest conductor, and served at The Boston Conservatory of Music, Eastern Connecticut State University, and the University of Minnesota in Duluth. As Director of Orchestras at UMD, he led the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Festival, and served as the artist cellist performing and teaching cello and chamber music.

After hearing the Arena Orchestra of Verona with Léger conducting, Franco Ferrara enthusiastically exclaimed, "Rarely have I heard such emotion." He was extended a personal invitation, and one of the last to study with the legendary Italian conductor. Léger trained in orchestral and opera conducting under Ferrara, as well as Austrian conductor and opera coach Kurt Klippstatter, Charles Bruck, Pierre Monteux’s assistant in Paris, American opera conductor, coach, and teacher John Moriarty, conductor and opera aficionado Boris Goldovsky, and Walter Ducloux, assistant to Arturo Toscanini and a student of Felix Weingartner in Vienna. He studied solfège with Albert-Yves Bernard, gold medalist in solfège at the Paris Conservatory, and cello with Luis Leguia, both distinguished members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

A native of Massachusetts, Léger began piano lessons at age eight, and soon after pursued studies in trumpet and then cello. A Phi Kappa Phi honors graduate of Ithaca College School of Music in New York, he studied trumpet with Herbert Mueller, and cello and chamber music with Einar Holm. Léger attended leading music programs, seminars, and institutes such as the Pierre Monteux School, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca Violoncello Institute, The Quartet Program, and Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood. He earned a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance from The Boston Conservatory of Music where he was awarded the only graduate assistantship in conducting, and studied with Attilio Poto, formerly with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and a student of Toscanini.

In addition to working with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic in Prague, Léger recently commissioned a major new composition for solo violin and orchestra, and will conduct the world premiere with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in China’s New Territories, as well as upcoming performances with other symphony orchestras in China.

Léger is Artist in Residence at Texas A&M University-Central Texas where his work with the Office of Research focuses on music performance and research, external initiatives and engagement. He is represented by Arts Management Associates.

 

 

 

 

 

  

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