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Richmond Symphony Names First Female Music Director

Classical Music Conductor Valentina Peleggi
Classical Music Conductor Valentina Peleggi | Photo via Richmond Symphony

Italian classical music conductor Valentina Peleggi has been named music director of the Richmond Symphony.

“We have found somebody very, very special. And we are delighted that she has accepted the offer,” said David Fisk, executive director of the Richmond Symphony. 

Peleggi is resident conductor of the OSESP São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil and principal conductor of their professional chorus. The Italian conductor has won “Conductor of the Year” and was voted “Young Talent of 2017” by Brazilian music magazine “Revista Concerto.” 

“The passion, enthusiasm and profound musical sensitivity of the musicians of the Richmond Symphony impressed me enormously from our very first rehearsal,” said Peleggi in a statement. “Making music with these wonderful artists is truly a privilege!” 

Peleggi said she is looking forward to building the Symphony’s innovative educational and choral programs.

“I believe we will be a great team and I can't wait to call Richmond my new home,” Peleggi said.

Peleggi is the sixth music director in the symphony’s 63-year history and the first woman in that leadership role.  Fisk says having a female music director who has worked all over the world will benefit Richmond.

“To have someone who’s Italian, working in England, working in Brazil, working across Europe, she brings a very cosmopolitan approach to what she’ll be doing with us,” Fisk said.

During the selection process, Peleggi conducted with the Richmond Symphony for two weeks in early March. 

“There is something very special in Valentina in the chemistry between her and the orchestra and in the impact that it makes on the audience as a result,” said Fisk.

Peleggi replaces former music director Steven Smith who worked with the Richmond Symphony for a decade. She starts her new position July 1, 2020. Fisk says some of her projects during the opening the season include a tent festival at Maymont and conducting the “Come Play with Us,” event that invites musicians of all skill levels and ages to play with the Richmond Symphony. 

Ian M. Stewart previously was the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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