Richmond Symphony Names Peleggi New Music Director

Mike Lawson • News • April 7, 2020

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The Richmond Symphony has announced the appointment of award-winning Italian conductor Valentina Peleggi as our next music director.

Peleggi will begin her role on July 1, 2020, for an initial four-year period conducting at least ten weeks a season, making Peleggi the symphony’s sixth music director, and first woman in that leadership role.

Peleggi’s engagement comes after a two-year search to replace former music director Steven Smith, who stepped down at the end of the 2018-19 season after a distinguished decade of service. The Search Committee, comprised of symphony musicians and board members, unanimously selected Peleggi after she spent two weeks with the Symphony in early March, garnering overwhelming support from the orchestra. 

Elisabeth Wollan, who led the search committee, commented: “Within hours of Ms. Peleggi’s first interaction with the Symphony, members of the search committee knew she was very special, and by the time of her Masterworks concerts, there was unanimous agreement that she was ‘the one.;  We have brought some wonderful and charismatic conductors to the stage this season, but Ms. Peleggi stands out as a superb and passionate leader who brings to the orchestra a remarkable depth of musicianship, a charming connection with audiences, and a deep respect for the RSO’s commitment to this community.  She is inspiring!  We cannot wait to welcome her to Richmond.”

David Fisk, executive director, echoes this enthusiasm for a future under Peleggi’s musical direction: “I am delighted that the Richmond Symphony has attracted Valentina Peleggi: her growing international reputation as one of the brightest talents of her generation makes her an exciting new addition to the American symphonic world. We look forward to her taking the orchestra to new heights, and to all we can do under her leadership to reinforce our commitment to making music – and music education – accessible to everyone, in the many communities we serve.”

Peleggi will conduct eight weeks of concerts in the 2020/21 Season, including opening the Symphony’s season with a ‘Big Tent’ open-air community festival, four Masterworks concert weeks, and chamber orchestra concerts in the Symphony’s Rush Hour and Metro Series. 

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