Music Director: Grand Rapids Symphony
Brazilian-Born Marcelo Lehninger is a passionate artist who is driven by the belief that music breaks down barriers between cultures and communicates to all. His dynamic podium presence inspires musicians and audiences around the globe. With a vast knowledge of the symphonic repertoire, his innovative programming presents a wide range of styles, from baroque to contemporary.
Mr. Lehninger was appointed Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2016. In 2018, he brought the orchestra to Carnegie Hall, its first performance at the famed venue in thirteen years. His latest album features music by Richard Strauss and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Previously, Mr. Lehninger served as Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles, for which the League of American Orchestras awarded him the Helen H. Thompson Award for Emerging Music Directors. For five years, Marcelo served as Assistant and then Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Lehninger’s 2021-22 season includes debuts with the San Antonio Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, and the Prague Philharmonia in the Czech Republic, and returns to the Sarasota Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic in Brazil.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Lehninger has led some of the leading orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, Seattle, National, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Indianapolis, Colorado, Charlotte, New Jersey, Jacksonville, Omaha, Chautauqua, Portland, Princeton, Hartford, Hawaii, Vancouver, Tucson, Toledo, and Fairfax Symphonies; the Florida, Louisville and Sarasota Orchestras; and the Rochester, Orlando, New Mexico, and Colorado Springs Philharmonics. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In Canada, he has appeared with the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, the Calgary and Hamilton Philharmonics, and the Symphony Nova Scotia. European highlights include engagements with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Lucerne Symphony, regular visits to the Slovenian Philharmonic, including on tour to Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and a tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra assisting Mariss Jansons.
He made his Australian debut with the Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies with his friend and mentor Nelson Freire as soloist. In Japan, he conducted the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo and the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Lehninger was Music Advisor of The Orchestra of the Americas for the 2007-08 season. In summer of 2008, he toured with the orchestra in South America, conducting concerts in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. He has led all of the top orchestras in Brazil, and served as Associate Conductor of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, where he returns regularly as guest conductor.
Chosen by Kurt Masur in 2008, Mr. Lehninger was awarded the First Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship sponsored by the American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation. He was Maestro Masur’s assistant with the Orchestre National de France (during their residency at the Musikverein in Vienna), Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, and the New York Philharmonic. In 2011, he participated in the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, organized by the League of American Orchestras, conducting the Louisiana Philharmonic, and debuted with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center as part of the National Conducting Institute in 2007.
Before dedicating his career to conducting, Mr. Lehninger studied violin and piano. He holds a Master's degree from the Conductors Institute at New York's Bard College, where he studied conducting under Harold Farberman and composition with Laurence Wallach. His mentors also include Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, and Roberto Tibiriçá. A dual citizen of Brazil and Germany, Marcelo Goulart Lehninger is the son of pianist Sônia Goulart and violinist Erich Lehninger.