Brazilian-born Marcelo Lehninger is in his second year as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. He previously 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. Marcelo was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by James Levine, and, after a very successful two year tenure that included stepping in for Maestro Levine on short notice in Boston and on tour at Carnegie Hall, was later promoted to Associate Conductor.
“Lehninger was impressively poised in the Tchaikovsky and maintained good musical contact with the orchestra. He drew an intriguingly dark and mysterious tone from the lower strings to open the Andante cantabile, and moments in the outer movements crackled with electricity” Boston Globe
Mr. Lehninger's 2017-18 season includes debuts with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Tucson and Charlotte Symphonies; return engagements with the North Carolina, Chautauqua, Petrobrás and University of São Paulo Symphonies, Rochester Philharmonic and Slovenian Philharmonic, which he will lead on tour to Vienna; and a return to Carnegie Hall with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Highlights of the 2016-17 season included debuts with the Colorado, Hawaii, Toledo, Portland and Vancouver Symphonies, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as return engagements with Minas Gerais, Slovenian and New Mexico Philharmonics, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. He made his Australian debut conducting the Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies with his friend and mentor Nelson Freire as soloist, and his Japan debut with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra.

As a guest conductor in the United States, Mr. Lehninger has led the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, Seattle, Milwaukee, National, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Omaha, Knoxville, Hartford and Fairfax Symphonies; the Florida and Louisville Orchestras; and the Orlando Philharmonic. In Canada, he has appeared with the Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, and the Calgary and Hamilton Philharmonics. European highlights include engagements with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Lucerne Symphony, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and a tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra assisting Mariss Jansons.

Mr. Lehninger was music advisor of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas for the 2007-08 season. Plácido Domingo serves as artistic advisor for the ensemble, which is composed of 120 talented musicians from more than twenty countries throughout the Americas. In summer of 2008, Maestro Lehninger toured with YOA and pianist Nelson Freire in South America, conducting concerts in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. He has led all of the top orchestras in Brazil as well as regular guest conducting in Argentina, and previously served as Associate Conductor of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra in Brazil.

In 2007 Mr. Lehninger debuted with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center as part of the National Conducting Institute. 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 Orchestra.

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 Brazilian pianist Sônia Goulart and German violinist Erich Lehninger. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife Laura and daughters Sofia and Camila.

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