Conductors

Christopher Warren-Green
Music Director


Now in his eighth season with the Charlotte Symphony, Music Director Christopher Warren-Green also serves as Principal Conductor of the London Chamber Orchestra.

Working extensively in the US, key North American engagements have included The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit, St. Louis, Toronto, Milwaukee, Seattle and Vancouver symphony orchestras and the National Symphony Orchestra. He also regularly works with the Minnesota Orchestra and has conducted recent performances of Handel's Messiah with the Houston Symphony.
 
In 2017-18, Maestro Warren-Green will take the London Chamber Orchestra to the Enescu Festival in Bucharest in an eclectic programme featuring the music of Enescu, Benjamin, Mozart and Fitkin. He will also make his debut with the Tampere Philharmonic performing works by Sibelius, Stravinsky and Bartok. Last season he returned to Orchestre National de Belgique, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Beethoven Orchester Bonn and he made debuts with the Nashville Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras.
 
In Charlotte, he conducts Rite of Spring, a community partnership with Charlotte Ballet in April 2018. Past season highlights have included collaborations with Itzhak Perlman and Sir James Galway, as well as Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Strauss Ein Heldenleben, and Mahler Symphony No. 2, a performance Classical Voice of North Carolina called "one that will be talked about and remembered for a long time."

Dedicated to the promotion of music education, Warren-Green plays a key role in the Charlotte Symphony's education efforts, including Project Harmony, an initiative aimed at providing music education in high-need areas of Charlottes. In London he works extensively with LCO's education program, Music Junction, which gathers together young people from different backgrounds to create mutual empathy and connection through music. 

Previous seasons have seen Warren-Green at the helm of the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National orchestras, and the NHK, Singapore, Sapporo and KBS symphony orchestras. He has also conducted BBC Concert Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia, as well as Sinfonia Varsovia for a commemorative concert in celebration of Yehudi Menuhin. Other collaborations include a tour of Japan with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with Zürcher Kammerorchester, RTÉ Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. 
 
Over the last 30 years Christopher Warren-Green has been personally invited to conduct for the Royal Family on many occasions. In April 2005, he conducted the Service of Dedication and Prayer following the marriage of TRH the Duke and the Duchess of Cornwall. He also led the London Chamber Orchestra during the marriage ceremony of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in 2011, which was broadcast to a global audience of 2 billion. Other notable occasions have included HM The Queen's 80th birthday celebrations at Kew Palace, and with the Philharmonia Orchestra he conducted HM The Queen's 90th birthday concert at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane as well as HRH The Prince of Wales' 60th birthday concert in Buckingham Palace.
 
Warren-Green is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and has recorded extensively for Sony, Phillips, Virgin EMI, Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Signum Classics.
 

  • Christopher James Lees, Assistant Conductor

    • Christopher James Lees joined the Charlotte Symphony as Assistant Conductor in the 2016-2017 season. Appointed by Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, Mr. Lees conducts the family-centric Lollipops series, plus education and community performances.

      Only the second American Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Lees made his debut with the orchestra in April 2013 and returned for concerts in February 2015.

      Recently, Mr. Lees has returned for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as the Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee, and North Carolina symphonies, and conducted debuts with the Indianapolis, Kansas City, Toledo, Flint, Portland (Maine), Winston-Salem, Kalamazoo, and New Bedford symphonies. Additional guest conducting engagements have taken him to the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and at the Music in the Mountains Festival & Festival Internacional de Inverno de Campos do Jordão in Brazil.

      He received a prestigious Career Assistance Grant from the Solti Foundation US and was showcased as one of six conductors selected for the 2011 Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation National Conductor Preview, hosted by the League of American Orchestras and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

      A passionate advocate for contemporary music, Mr. 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.

      Since 2014, Mr. Lees has served as Music Director of the UNC School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra. In this position he has spearheaded cross disciplinary collaborations across five arts schools: Integrating world premiere choreography into Symphonic Orchestra concerts, producing the first UNCSA Collage Concert, and conducting the musical components of CP Taylor's 1981 play, Good a piece of fully staged theatre in which the chamber orchestra plays a leading dramatic role.

      A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Lees holds bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Michigan, and has studied conducting with Larry Rachleff and Robert Spano, as well as having participated in masterclasses with Lorin Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gustav Meier, and Jorma Panula.

      Mr. Lees lives in North Carolina with his wife, new music soprano Lindsay Kesselman, and their son, Rowan.


  • Kenney Potter, Director of Choruses

    • Kenney Potter was appointed Director of Choruses of the Charlotte Symphony in 2015 and leads the all-volunteer Charlotte Symphony Chorus (formerly Oratorio Singers of Charlotte) and Chamber Singers.

      A versatile conductor, Potter served as the artistic director and conductor of the Union Symphony Orchestra and currently conducts the productions for the Wingate University Opera. His choirs have received wide-spread acclaim, including winning the Grand Prix for best choir in the Pärnu International Choral Festival in Pärnu, Estonia.

      As a performer, he has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, and was choir soloist for the Grammy Award-winning Oregon Bach Festival choir, as well as the International Bach Academy, conducted by Helmuth Rilling. Most recently, in the 2014-15 season, he sang the role of Judas in J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Symphony Chorus.
      In addition to his work at the Charlotte Symphony and Wingate, Potter serves as the director of adult choirs at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina. As a clinician, he also frequently conducts festival choirs and music conferences.

      Potter's compositions have been published by Hinshaw Music, Choristers Guild, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He is also founder and editor of Wingate University Music Press, which publishes Folk Songs of South Africa, a series of pedagogical resources that he co-authored with Dalene Hoogenhout, conductor of the Wits Choir of Johannesburg.

      Potter resides in Charlotte with his wife, Heather, and their children, Syl and Calvin.

  • Ernest Pereira, Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra Music Director

    • The Symphony Guild of Charlotte Endowed Chair and Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras, Dr. Ernest Pereira has vigorously improved and expanded the two ensembles over the past 25 years, leading the CSYO in performances at Charlotte's Festival in the Park and Summer Pops at Symphony Park, as well as the prestigious venues of Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, SC, and Carnegie Hall in New York, NY. He has guest conducted the Charlotte Civic Orchestra and has appeared on several local chamber music series as either a violinist or conductor. For a number of years, Dr. Pereira was featured at the Charlotte Symphony's annual Youth Festival, conducting the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra as well as the combined professional and youth orchestras.

      He co-directed, with Dr. Paul Nitsch, the Fun with Chamber Music program for youth at Queens University of Charlotte. Students from his orchestra and private teaching studio have gone on to major in music at noted conservatories and universities, including the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, University of Texas at Austin, the Yale School of Music, the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, Oberlin College, North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University.

      A native of South Africa, Dr. Pereira received his early training in violin in Pretoria from Walter Mony and Alan Solomon and holds Teacher and Performer Licentiates from the University of South Africa. He studied in this country with David Cerone, graduating as valedictorian from the Cleveland Institute of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1981 and a Master of Music degree in 1982. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas in 1987, studying with Vincent Frittelli. Dr. Pereira served as Concertmaster of both the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra as well as the University of Texas Orchestra and conducted the University of Texas String Project Orchestra. Since 1985, Dr. Pereira has been a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared frequently as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, South Africa, and Namibia and has soloed with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Charlotte Civic Orchestra. He believes strongly in educating young musicians and maintains an active and successful violin studio.