June 27, 2016
Winston Salem Journal: UNCSA Music Director Joins Charlotte Symphony as Assistant Conductor

UNCSA Music Director Joins Charlotte Symphony as Assistant Conductor

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 8:00 pm
By Lynn Felder Winston-Salem Journal

Christopher James Lees, music director of the UNC School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra, will join the Charlotte Symphony as assistant conductor beginning Sept. 1. He will continue in his roles at UNCSA, where he is also associate professor of conducting.

Lees will lead the Charlotte Symphony’s Lollipops family series beginning in the 2016-17 season as well as some pops performances. He will also conduct the Charlotte Symphony education and community outreach concerts, including the annual concerts for middle school students and the Charlotte Symphony-Charlotte Ballet’s annual “Nutcracker” collaboration.

Lees, who has won a number of conducting awards and guest-conducted such orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, joined the UNCSA School of Music faculty in 2014. In 2015, he became co-founder and conductor of the UNCSA-sponsored Triad Area Medical Orchestra, composed of health care professionals. In March, he coordinated a tour by the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, with concerts in Chapel Hill, Charlotte and Brevard.

“I am enthusiastic about this opportunity to focus my external conducting activities ... within North Carolina. Through this appointment, our students interested in orchestral careers may also be able to connect more easily with their professional counterparts just down the road,” Lees said.

UNCSA Chancellor Lindsay Bierman said it is important for UNCSA faculty to continue to perform in their disciplines. “It enables them to continue growing as artists, and it connects us in vitally important ways with artists and arts organizations across the country and throughout the world,” Bierman said.

On Nov. 19, Lees will conduct UNCSA’s second annual Collage Concert, a showcase for the School of Music, featuring performances by the Symphony Orchestra, the Jazz Ensemble, chamber ensembles and soloists. Lees initiated and conducted the school’s first Collage Concert in April.

A native of Washington, D.C., Lees holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.

“Christopher’s diverse and impressive background will be a valuable addition to the Charlotte Symphony family,” said Mary Deissler, Charlotte Symphony president and chief executive. “We are fortunate to bring on board such a young and accomplished talent.”

lfelder@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7298

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