Christopher Warren-Green, Music Director
Now in his eleventh season with the Charlotte Symphony, Music Director Christopher Warren-Green also serves as Music Director of the London Chamber Orchestra.
Warren-Green has worked extensively in North America, with key engagements including The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit, Houston, St. Louis, Toronto, Milwaukee, Seattle and Vancouver symphony orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra and Washington's National Symphony Orchestra. In Europe, he has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgian National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Tampere Philharmonic amongst others. And further afield, Warren-Green works with orchestras such as the NHK, Singapore and Sapporo symphony orchestras and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Maestro Warren-Green returns to the podium in Charlotte to open the 2020-21 season with virtual programs featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Brahms, and Dvorak. He also leads the CSO in "A Concert for Charlotte" at Truist Field, an event designed to celebrate Charlotte and help bring the community back together through music.
A product of community music education, Warren-Green plays a key role in the CSO's educational efforts, including two youth orchestras and Project Harmony, an El Sistema-based, nationally funded program providing afterschool music ensemble training in high-need areas.
In addition to his international commitments, he has been invited to conduct at the wedding services of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in 2005, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in 2011 and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 2018. He conducted the London Chamber Orchestra on the occasion of HM The Queen's 80th birthday and the Philharmonia Orchestra for Her Majesty's 90th birthday concert at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, as well as HRH The Prince of Wales' 60th birthday concert in Buckingham Palace.
A violinist by training, Warren-Green began his career at the age of 19 as concertmaster of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, followed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, having been a Professor there for eight years, and has appeared numerous times on television and radio. He has recorded extensively for Sony, Philips, Virgin EMI, Chandos, Decca and Deutsche Grammophon, and records with the London Chamber Orchestra for Signum Classics.
Christopher James Lees, Resident Conductor
Christopher James Lees was named Resident Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony in 2018.
Music Director Christopher Warren-Green appointed Lees Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony in the 2016-17 season, and since then, Lees has curated and conducted more than 50 performances a year, not only leading Movie and Family Series concerts but also the Symphony's popular On Tap series at Charlotte-area breweries, and the Symphony's traveling series, CSO On the Go.
In the community, he leads the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras, 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. He has also led the Nutcracker collaboration with Charlotte Ballet.
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.