The Grand Rapids Symphony has named Marcelo Lehninger as its new music director, following a three-year search.
The symphony’s Music Director Search Committee this morning voted unanimously to bring Lehninger on with a five-year contract. The previous director, David Lockington, was with the symphony for 16 seasons.
“Artistic excellence was the top thing that we were looking for,” Larry Robson, vice chairperson for the symphony’s board of directors, said at a press conference today. “But other factors were important as well, considerations such as development of the orchestra, a willingness to become part of the community, and a vision for the future of Grand Rapids Symphony.”
This move comes with the symphony’s recently-adopted five-year plan, which includes a new five-year contract with the players. The agreement was approved in April, following 11 months of negotiations, as MiBiz previously reported.
Lehninger previously served five seasons as the assistant, and then associate, conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He hopes that his time there will assist him in the many responsibilities of a music director beyond conducting, “from fundraising and marketing to education and community engagement,” according to a statement released today.
In the press conference, Lehninger cited the symphony’s new five-year plan as a driver for his decision to take the position, as well as a desire to be a part of Grand Rapids.
“When I came here, both times that I conducted the orchestra, I felt wonderful chemistry with the musicians,” he said. “It just felt right. But also, I was so happy to get to know everyone in the community. … I can’t wait to start working.”