Christopher James Lees renews contract through 2025

15 July 2021

Press contact: Deirdre Roddin 


July 15, 2021 | Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte Symphony is pleased to announce that it has extended Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees’s contract through the end of the 2024–25 season.

Lees joined the Charlotte Symphony as Assistant Conductor for the 2016–17 season and was appointed Resident Conductor in 2018. Since then, he has curated and conducted more than 60 performances a year, leading the CSO’s Movie and Family Series in addition to the Symphony’s popular On Tap series at Charlotte-area breweries.

In the community, he leads Healing Hands performances at area senior care centers and recreation centers, and conducts Link Up, a program of Carnegie Hall, which engages over 3,000 students in the Symphony experience at Belk Theater.

A passionate advocate for music education, Lees provides high-quality ensemble training to the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and leads them in rehearsals and performances throughout the city.

“This is great news for the Charlotte Symphony and our entire community,” said Charlotte Symphony President and CEO David Fisk. “Anyone who has seen Christopher conduct and interact with audiences, understands that he brings not only thoughtful and invigorating performances, but his unique ability to connect directly with audiences and share his passion for music. All of us at the CSO look forward with great anticipation to building upon his many accomplishments.”

“I am deeply excited to continue making music with the phenomenal musicians of the Charlotte Symphony and the incredibly talented young artists in the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra,” said Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees. “This past, remarkable year has made it even clearer how inspired, dedicated, and resourceful the CSO musicians, board, and staff all are. I am grateful to Christopher Warren-Green for his bringing me into this musical family, and I look forward to many more electric orchestral performances in this dynamic city I so love.”

Only the second American Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lees made his debut with the orchestra in April 2013 and returned for concerts in February 2015. As an active guest conductor, Lees has returned for performances with the Rochester Philharmonics, the Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Portland, and Flint Symphonies, and conducted debuts with the Indianapolis, Kansas City, Toledo, and Vermont Symphonies.

A dedicated advocate for music of our time, Lees has premiered more than one hundred fifty new works by a diverse range of composers, and collaborated closely with Pulitzer Prize winners John Adams, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Joseph Schwantner, Steven Stucky, Caroline Shaw, Roger Reynolds, and Julia Wolfe.

About the Charlotte Symphony
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in the 2021–22 season, the Charlotte Symphony is committed to uplifting, entertaining, and educating the diverse communities of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and beyond through exceptional musical experiences. Led by internationally renowned Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, the Symphony upholds the highest artistic integrity and takes bold steps to engage the community through music. The CSO employs 62 professional full- time orchestra musicians, serves three youth orchestras, and offers significant educational programming aimed at improving areas of our community with the greatest need. The Charlotte Symphony plays a leading cultural role in the Charlotte area and aims to serve the community as a civic leader, reflecting and uniting our region through the transformative power of live music.