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“For conductors, you’re always looking for ensembles where you really enjoy collaborating with the people and musicians that make up the organization,” said Ming Luke, the new music director and conductor of the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra (LCSO).
Las Cruces, Luke said, is a place he really wants “to be a part of and help grow coming out of the pandemic.”
LCSO introduced Luke as its new director during a June 10 gala fundraiser at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
For that event, and when Luke was in Las Cruces as LCSO guest conductor last October, Luke said “the community was just so welcoming from all angles,” including patrons, lunches before concerts, LCSO board members, symphony staff and musicians.
“I can’t wait until the next time I’m there. I really had a wonderful time this past visit,” said Luke, who grew up on the East Coast and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
In addition to LCSO, he is music director for the Merced Symphony in California and the Nashville Ballet and is principal guest conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.
LCSO’s 2022-23 season “is already in the planning process,” Luke said.
“It’s really going to be something spectacular, I think,” he said. “I love everything we conduct.”
Luke said he is particularly drawn to the great masters, including Beethoven, Brahms, Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, among others.
“I welcome Ming Luke to the Las Cruces community,” said LCPS Conductor Emeritus Lonnie Klein, who retired after 20 seasons as the symphony maestro. “He is an excellent conductor and will propel the LCSO to new artistic heights,” Klein said.
“Ming Luke is a highly talented and versatile conductor that has excited audiences across the United States and the world,” said LCSO Association Board President Barb Ross. “He will bring that skill and excitement to the LCSO. Ming strongly believes in the power of music to connect to people and bring the community together. He has collaborated with dance companies and other community organizations as part of bringing diversity to programming. His experience and interest in collaboration will undoubtedly help expand audience attendance and support of the symphony,” said Ross, who has been an LCSO member for 14 years.
Luke holds a master of fine arts degree in conducting from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a bachelor of music in music education and piano pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. He has soloed as a pianist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic and San Francisco Ballet.