Valentina Peleggi

Music Director & Lewis T. Booker Music Director Chair

Since her appointment on July 1, 2020 Music Director Valentina Peleggi has revitalized the Symphony’s artistic output. While focusing on developing the orchestra’s own sound she has also launched new concert formats, joined national co-commission partnerships, started a 3 year composer in residence programme, launched conducting masterclasses in collaboration with the local universities, and championed neglected composers from diverse backgrounds. During the pandemic she sat on the jury of the first virtual Menuhin Competition hosted by the Richmond Symphony.

Highlights of the 22/23 season include a ground-breaking augmented reality project, also Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony and a special concert with soloist Yo-Yo Ma. Peleggi is the Richmond Symphony’s sixth Music Director, and first woman in that leadership role.

This season Peleggi debuts with the New World Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and at the Grant Park Festival in Chicago, and in Europe with the Residentie Orkest, Liege Philharmonic, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Nuremburg Symphony and the orchestra of Opera North, also conducting the opening concert of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Engagements in recent seasons have included the Colorado and Baltimore symphonies, Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, Norrkoping Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana, and Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano.

Opera (especially bel canto) is at the core of Peleggi’s activity; in May 2022 she conducts Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Florentine Opera, and last season she returned to the Teatro Verdi di Trieste for Rigoletto, also making her debut in a new production of Piazzola’s Maria de Buenos Aires at the Opéra de Lyon. She conducted an acclaimed Rossini’s Le Comte Ory with the Philharmonia Orchestra at Garsington Opera in 2021 and was a Mackerras Fellow at English National Opera in 2018 and 2019, where she conducted a wide range of repertoire including Carmen and La Bohème. Since 2019 she has been Music Director (responsible for Italian repertoire) of the Theatro Sao Pedro in Sao Paulo where her L’Italiana in Algeri was recognized as “best opera of the year 2019 in Sao Paulo” by the main critic journal Rivista Concerto. 2021 saw the release of her first CD, featuring a cappella works by Villa Lobos in a new critical edition for Naxos guest edited by Ms Peleggi and performed by the Sao Paulo Symphony Chorus, of which she previously served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. She was concurrently Resident Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.

The first Italian woman to enter the conducting programme at the Royal Academy of Music of London, she graduated with distinction and was awarded the DipRAM for an outstanding final concert as well as numerous other prizes and was recently honoured with the title of Associate. She furthered her studies with David Zinman and Daniele Gatti at the Zurich Tonhalle and at the Royal Concertgebouw masterclasses. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, received a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship 20152017 under Marin Alsop.

Peleggi holds a Master in Conducting with honours from the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome, and in 2013 was awarded the Accademia Chigiana’s highest award, going on to assist Bruno Campanella and Gianluigi Gelmetti at Teatro Regio di Torino, Opera Bastille Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Regio di Parma and Teatro San Carlo. She also assisted on a live worldwide broadcast and DVD production of Rossini’s Cenerentola with the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI. From 2005 to 2015 she was the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the University Choir in Florence and remains their Honorary Conductor, receiving a special award from the Government in 2011 in recognition of her work there. Ms Peleggi is passionate about the arts and holds a master in Comparative Literature.

Valentina Peleggi is represented by Intermusica worldwide.

See recent examples of Valentina conducting the Richmond Symphony here: