Biography

Brazilian-born Marcelo Lehninger is recognized as one of the most gifted conductors of his generation; his growing reputation as a dynamic conductor inspires musicians and audiences of all ages worldwide. Currently, Maestro Lehninger is in his third season as Music Director of the New West Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles, and in 2014 he received the Helen Thompson Award for his outstanding work with the orchestra at the League of American Orchestras Annual Conference in Seattle.

After three successful seasons as Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, Mr. Lehninger renewed his contract for two more seasons as the Orchestra’s new Associate Conductor.

Mr. Lehninger made his BSO debut in 2010 with the violinist Pinchas Zukerman as soloist and in 2011 he stepped in for Maestro James Levine on very short notice to conduct the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's Violin Concerto and Bartok’s 2nd Violin Concerto with Christian Testzlaff as soloist. In 2012, Mr. Lehninger filled in for Andris Nelsons, conducting a program that included the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Trumpet Concerto “From the Wreckage” with Håkan Hardenberger as well as Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra”. He also successfully conducted a program, without any rehearsals, that included Stravinsky’s Piano and Winds Concerto with Peter Serkin and Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony.

Mr. Lehninger’s made a highly praised debut at Carnegie Hall with the BSO in 2011. Critic Anthony Tommasini wrote in the New York Times: "He was terrific, conducting all three works with impressive technique, musical insight and youthful energy". Maestro Lehninger's other BSO appearances include his Tanglewood debut in the summer of 2012 with pianist Nelson Freire; a subscription week in the 2012/13 season with violinist Joshua Bell; the 2013/14 Season Opening Gala with violinist Augustin Hadelich; a 2014 Tanglewood concert with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the 2014/15 Season Opening concerts.

In February 2014, Mr. Lehninger successfully replaced Maestro Pierre Boulez, conducting the Chicago Symphony in a program that included Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Suite No.2, as well as Ravel’s Une barque sur l’ocean and Alborada del Gracioso.

As a guest conductor in the United States, he has also led the Baltimore, Chautauqua, Fairfax, Florida, Indianapolis, Hartford, Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, National (Washington, DC), New Jersey, Omaha and Seattle symphony orchestras. In Canada, Mr. Lehninger conducted the Calgary Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony orchestras. Future guest conducting engagements include concerts with Rochester Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra and the Detroit, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh Symphonies.

In 2013, Mr. Lehninger recorded the work of American composer Christopher Culpo for Radio France in Paris, conducting the Orchestre National de France. He also led the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela and made a highly praised debut with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Upcoming European engagements in 2014-2015 include concerts with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Slovenia and Austria, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland. In 2014, Maestro Lehninger substituted Neeme Järvi with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, and is invited to conduct a subscription concert in the 2015/16 season.

Mr. Lehninger was music advisor of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas for the 2007-08 season. Placido 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. Mr. Lehninger also held the Associate Conductor position of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra in Brazil.

Since winning the First Eleazar de Carvalho National Conducting Competition in Rio de Janeiro in 2001, he has led all of the top orchestras in Brazil as well as regular guest conducting in Argentina. An alumnus of the National Conducting Institute, he made a successful debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in 2007 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and was invited to conduct the NSO again in the summer of 2008.

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. Mr. Lehninger was also selected to assist and cover Maestro Mariss Jansons during the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s 2014 European Tour.

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, James Levine, 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. Marcelo, his wife Laura and daughter Sofia live in Boston.