Brazilian-born Marcelo Lehninger is the newly-appointed 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 Conductors. 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.
Mr. Lehninger’s 2016-17 season includes debuts with the Sydney, Melbourne, Colorado, Hawaii, Toledo, and Portland Symphonies; the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; and Symphony Nova Scotia; as well as return engagements with Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Minas Gerais Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, New Mexico Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Bard Orchestra, the orchestra of his alma mater. Highlights of the 2015-16 season included debuts with the Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Ft. Worth, and Knoxville Symphonies, The Orchestra Now, and, in Europe, his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and a return to the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
As a guest conductor in the United States, Mr. Lehninger has led the Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Baltimore, Seattle, Milwaukee, National, Jacksonville, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Omaha, Chautauqua, Hartford, and Fairfax Symphonies; the Florida and Louisville Orchestras; and the Rochester and Orlando Philharmonics. In Canada, he has appeared with the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, and the Calgary and Hamilton Philharmonics. European highlights include engagements with the Lucerne Symphony, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and a tour with the 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.
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, and debuted with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center as part of the National Conducting Institute.
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.