Valentina Peleggi has been Music Director of the Richmond Symphony (Virginia, USA) since the 20/21 season and recently renewed her contract to Summer 2028, having already revitalized the orchestra’s artistic output. While focusing on developing the orchestra’s own sound she has also launched new concert formats, joined national co-commission partnerships, started a 3 year composer in residence programme, launched conducting masterclasses in collaboration with the local universities, and championed neglected composers from diverse backgrounds. During the pandemic she sat on the jury of the first virtual Menuhin Competition hosted by the Richmond Symphony.
Last season saw a string of debuts in North America, including Dallas and Chicago symphonies, New World, and Kansas City symphonies, Grant Park Music Festival. She will return to conduct Chicago Symphony at Ravinia in 2024. This season Peleggi conducts BBC Scottish Symphony and Ulster orchestras, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and at Teatro Colon and Arena di Verona. Other engagements in recent seasons have included the Colorado and Baltimore symphonies, Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege, Nuremberg Symphoniker, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Norrkoping Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana, and Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano.
Opera (especially bel canto) is vital part of Peleggi’s activity; in May 2024 she makes her debut at Seattle Opera conducting Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In 2022 she returned to Teatro Verdi di Trieste for Rigoletto, also making her debut in a new production of Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires at the Opéra de Lyon. She conducted an acclaimed Rossini’s Le Comte Ory with the Philharmonia Orchestra at Garsington Opera in 2021 and was a Mackerras Fellow at English National Opera in 2018 and 2019, where she conducted a wide range of repertoire including Carmen and La bohème.
2021 saw the release of her first CD, featuring a cappella works by Villa Lobos in a new critical edition for Naxos guest edited by Peleggi and performed by the São Paulo Symphony Chorus. She returns this season to conduct an a capella concert. While acting Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Chorus, she was concurrently Resident Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Music Director (responsible for Italian repertoire) of the Theatro Sao Pedro in Sao Paulo.
The first Italian woman to enter the conducting programme at the Royal Academy of Music of London, she graduated with distinction and was awarded the DipRAM for an outstanding final concert as well as numerous other prizes and was recently honoured with the title of Associate. She furthered her studies with David Zinman and Daniele Gatti at the Zurich Tonhalle and at the Royal Concertgebouw masterclasses. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, received a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship 2015-2017 under Marin Alsop.
Peleggi holds a Master in Conducting with honours from the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome, and in 2013 was awarded the Accademia Chigiana’s highest award, going on to assist Bruno Campanella and Gianluigi Gelmetti at Teatro Regio di Torino, Opera Bastille Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro Regio di Parma and Teatro San Carlo. She also assisted on a live worldwide broadcast and DVD production of Rossini's Cenerentola with the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI. From 2005 to 2015 she was the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the University Choir in Florence and remains their Honorary Conductor, receiving a special award from the Government in 2011 in recognition of her work there.
Peleggi is passionate about the arts and holds a master in Comparative Literature.
The Guardian, July 2021
"Peleggi conducts with marvellous flair and precision"
The Stage, July 2021
"There is wonderful playing from the Philharmonia, and a high-energy debut from conductor Valentina Peleggi"
Letter V, The Virginia Classical Music Blog, November 2020
"Intense concentration and fine balance...richly lyrical string sonority...it sang and danced as Schubert always should, but it also had the needed earthy undertones... Her tracing of the expressive arc of the work, from the light-hearted classicism of the first movement to the emphatic, almost Beethovenian character of the finale, made for an impressive introduction to this conductor’s approach to German classical-romantic style...Peleggi’s background in conducting voices was constantly evident. She led the orchestra without a baton and with fluid, at times florid, hand gestures, but without ever letting tempos lag or ensemble become muddled. Every piece on the program sang, eloquently or ingratiatingly, as the music demanded."