Lesley Leighton, artistic director of the Los Robles Master Chorale and director of choral activities at Cal State San Bernardino, has been named principal guest conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra.
“As the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra continues to expand, it is critical that we add a world-class principal guest conductor to share artistic responsibilities on the podium and give our orchestra and our audience an extra musical perspective,” Anthony Parnther, the orchestra’s music director and conductor, said in a news release.
“In this role, Maestra Leighton will serve as a cover, share concerts with me and begin to conduct on her own SBSO series as we branch out into the Inland Empire even further. We’re all tremendously excited to have an artist of her caliber joining the ranks of our organization,” Parnther said.
In addition to curating and conducting the Los Robles Master Chorale’s concert series each season, Leighton has previously prepared the organization for appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New West Symphony, American Youth Symphony and the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, among others.
“I have collaborated with Maestro Parnther for many projects both on the stage and in the studio, and I adore working with such a smart and accomplished musician whom I admire. It’s exciting to work with Anthony in this new capacity, and I look forward to what we can bring together to the music scene in theIE,” Leighton said in the news release.
Leighton was named assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2010 and a year later was promoted to associate conductor, a position she held until 2016.
She has also prepared choirs for conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Bramwell Tovey, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas and Grant Gershon for performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall and Shrine Auditorium, among other venues.
Leighton made her Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic conducting debuts in the 2018-19 season.
She has also performed as a soprano, with opera credits include principal appearances with New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Köln Opera, Paris Opera and Glyndebourne.
Her voice can be heard on more than 100 film soundtracks, including most recently, “Captain Marvel,” “Mulan,” “Sing2,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “The Lion King.”
A native of Los Angeles, Leighton studied conducting at Loyola Marymount University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in conducting. Following graduate conducting study at UCLA, she received a Master of Music degree in vocal performance and a doctorate in choral music, both from the University of Southern California.
For information about the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and its 2022 season, go to sanbernardinosymphony.org.