The Breckenridge Music Festival will present a BMF Festival Orchestra Series concert titled “A Midsummer’s Opening Night” on Thursday, July 17. The evening’s performance, under guest conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, will highlight light classics and pops by Aaron Copland, Felix Mendelssohn and George Gershwin.
Lecce-Chong, a Boulder native, is one of three finalists in the search for a music director to lead the BMF’s Festival Orchestra. Each finalist will conduct two concerts in this summer’s five-week series. At the season’s end, one will be selected to take up where outgoing conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann left off.
The BMF community is excited to hear what Lecce-Chong can bring.
“This is my first self-designed, lighter program,” he said of the opening night concert, which will include classics, jazz and Broadway favorites — basically a little bit of everything, organized around the theme of a summer night.
Lecce-Chong began working on the idea to organize lighthearted fare around a single summer night last year while guest conducting with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He became interested in “what it means to be a world-class artist on the pops side of things” while working with the late conductor and composer Marvin Hamlisch at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he currently serves as associate conductor.
The concert will open with pieces by Copland, Mendelssohn, Handel and Mozart before using Gershwin to transition into the second half, when guest vocalist Helen Welch joins with her energetic and “comedic” take on Broadway and jazz standards.
A native of England, Welch is well known throughout the United Kingdom for her musical theatre roles and one-woman shows. Upon moving to the United States in 2003, Welch landed starring roles in a string of popular musicals including “Hello Dolly!,” “Barnum,” “42nd Street,” “Oliver Twist,” “Calamity Jane,” “Show Boat” and “Carousel.” After her Broadway contract ended, she had the opportunity to work with some of the United Kingdom’s finest big bands, including Opus One, Glen Miller Europe and the BBC Big Band.
For more information on the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra season, visit www.breckenridgemusicfestival.com.