Possessing a repertoire of over forty-five operas and musicals ranging from Mozart and Wagner to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim, pianist and conductor Jesse Leong is a musician of uncommon breadth and versatility. His conducting has been called “taut and assured” by Opera Today. He is the Associate Music Director of Queen City Opera. Mr. Leong was recently named the 2018-2019 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow by the Kurt Weill Foundation. In this capacity he will serve as Associate Conductor to Tony Award®-winning Artistic Director of MasterVoices Ted Sperling on Lady in the Dark featuring another Tony winner, Victoria Clark.
2019 will also see Mr. Leong’s return to Cincinnati Opera, assisting David Charles Abell on Porgy and Bess. He debuted with Cincinnati Opera in 2018 assisting Christoph Perick on Der Fliegende Holländer as well as with Pacific Opera Project, conducting La traviata.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. Leong returned to The Glimmerglass Festival as Conductor of the nationally acclaimed opera Scalia/Ginsburg by Derrick Wang, and Assistant Conductor on The Siege of Calais and Oklahoma! He debuted there in 2016 as Assistant Conductor on Puccini’s La bohème, Robert Ward’s The Crucible, and the world premiere of Wilde Tales by Laura Karpman and Kelley Rourke.
During the summer of 2015, Mr. Leong was a Studio Artist Pianist, Coach, and Conducting Fellow at Opera Saratoga, working on Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Rossini’s La cenerentola, and the world premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s The Long Walk. He was a Resident Artist Pianist at the Pittsburgh Festival Opera in the summer of 2014, playing Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Mr. Leong assumed the position of Interim Music Director of CCM’s nationally awarded Opera d’arte for the 2016-2017 season, conducting Britten’s Albert Herring. He served as Assistant Conductor for the 2015-2016 season, conducting a performance of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda.
Mr. Leong made his sixth appearance in December 2018 conducting Emmy®-nominated Marco Panuccio’s O Holy Night ~ An Evening of Holiday Song, having made his professional conducting debut with O Holy Night in 2013.
Artists with whom Mr. Leong has worked include Apo Hsu, Arthur Woodley, Brian Mulligan, Christoph Perick, Donna Loewy, Elisabeth Pridonoff, Francesca Zambello, Gary Thor Wedow, Jamie Barton, Jay Hunter Morris, James Lowe, Jon O’Conor, Jonathan Eaton, Jose Maria Condemi, Joseph Colaneri, Keith Lockhart, Ken Lam, Leah Crocetto, Marcy Stonikas, Marie-France Lefebvre, Mark Gibson, Molly Smith, Nathan Berg, Nicole Paiement, Ted Sperlin, Thomas Baldner, Thomas Hammons, Victoria Clark, and William Burden.
As a strong advocate for new music, in addition to the world premieres of The Long Walk and Wilde Tales, Mr. Leong has performed the music of John Adams, John Corigliano, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, William Bolcom, Nico Muhly, Tom Cipullo, and many others.
Also an accomplished orchestral and ensemble pianist, Mr. Leong served as the Principal Keyboardist of the CCM Orchestras from 2011-2017, including appointments with the CCM Philharmonia, Concert Orchestra, and Café MoMus. He has performed with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Mr. Leong completed a Master’s of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting and Bachelor’s of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, both summa cum laude. At CCM, Mr. Leong served as graduate assistant with the CCM Orchestras and CCM Opera, conductor of opera, symphony orchestra, and ballet, vocal coach, rehearsal pianist, assistant conductor, recital accompanist, and administrator.
Also at CCM, Mr. Leong received the William D. Black Prize in Piano, the Patricia A. Corbett Award, the Meyer Scholarship, and the Cincinnatus Scholarship Competition Voorheis Founders Award. He was a member of the University Honors Program, from which he received nine Creative Arts project grants, and the Music Director of the Eta-Omicron Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
An enthusiastic grammarian and linguist, Mr. Leong recently completed a book entitled, “La bohème: A Connotative and Grammatical Translation.” Having been described as “Nico Castel plus,” Mr. Leong’s book has been praised by singers, conductors, coaches, and directors alike. It will eventually be part of a double trilogy of Connotative and Grammatical Translation books on the Puccini-Illica-Giacosa operas, La bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, and the Mozart-Da Ponte operas, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte. Samples may be found below.
Mr. Leong is also an avid home chef and passionate advocate for social justice. You can find him on social media @jmleongmusic where he posts about and discuss about food, cooking, social justice, politics, music, upcoming performances.
Please visit jesseleong.com for more information.
Updated 02/26/2019. Please discard all previously dated materials.