North Carolina's Charlotte Symphony Extends Resident Conductor's Contract

Conductor Christopher James Lees' contract will be extended through the end of the 2024-2025 season

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(Photo credit: Christopherjameslees.com)

Lees has been with the Charlotte Symphony since the 2016-2017 season, when he was appointed as assistant conductor. He was appointed to his current role in 2016. During his time with the orchestra, Lees has conducted more than 60 performances a year with the organization — including the CSO's Movie and Family Series, the On Tap series at Charlotte-area breweries, Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerts, and the education program Link Up, among many other community performances.

“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,” Lees said. “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."

Charlotte Symphony President and CEO David Fisk added that "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."

Lees is the second American Gustavo Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has also conducted the Houston, Detroit, and Indianapolis Symphonies, among many other ensembles. As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Lees has premiered more than 150 new works by composers including John Adams and Jennifer Higdon.

Additionally, the Charlotte Symphony's new music director is set to begin their tenure during the 2024-2025 season. This upcoming season, the symphony's 90th, will be Music Director Christopher Warren-Green's final season in his role.