Conductors

Now in his ninth season with the Charlotte Symphony, Music Director Christopher Warren-Green also serves as Music Director of the London Chamber Orchestra.
 
Working extensively in North America, key engagements have included The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit, Houston, St. Louis, Toronto, Milwaukee, Seattle and Vancouver symphony orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra and Washington's National Symphony Orchestra. Elsewhere he has been seen at the helm of the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Belgique, Iceland Symphony, Beethoven Orchester Bonn and NHK, Singapore, Sapporo and KBS symphony orchestras. Also a regular with Tampere Philharmonic, he will conduct two programs this season featuring music by Ligeti, Bartok, Bruckner, Britten, Sibelius, and Elgar.
 
Personally invited to conduct the orchestra at the 2018 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, Maestro Warren-Green returns to the podium in Charlotte in 2018-19 to conduct a celebration of Charlotte at 250 through music of royal occasions, including Handel Water Music and other selections from royal celebrations.
 
Also in the Charlotte Symphony's 2018-19 season, he welcomes renowned pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Venezuelan-born Gabriela Montero, among others. He also leads programs featuring Holst The Planets, Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances, Scheherazade, and Mahler 1.
 
A product of community music education, Warren-Green plays a key role in the Charlotte Symphony'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 London he works with LCO's Music Junction program, which gathers together young people from different backgrounds to create mutual empathy and connection through music.
 
Past royal engagements have included the marriage ceremony of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in 2011 and the Service of Dedication and Prayer following the marriage of TRH the Duke and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005. Other notable occasions have included HM The Queen's 80th birthday celebrations at Kew Palace, among others.
 
Warren-Green is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and has recorded extensively for Sony, Phillips, Virgin EMI, Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and 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 Pops 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 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.

      Mr. Lees lives in north Charlotte with his wife, new music soprano Lindsay Kesselman, and their son, Rowan.


  • Kenney Potter, Director of Choruses

    • Kenney Potter was appointed Director of Choruses of the Charlotte Symphony in 2015 and leads the all-volunteer Charlotte Symphony Chorus (formerly Oratorio Singers of Charlotte) and Chamber Singers.

      A versatile conductor, Potter served as the artistic director and conductor of the Union Symphony Orchestra and currently conducts the productions for the Wingate University Opera. His choirs have received wide-spread acclaim, including winning the Grand Prix for best choir in the Pärnu International Choral Festival in Pärnu, Estonia.

      As a performer, he has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, and was choir soloist for the Grammy Award-winning Oregon Bach Festival choir, as well as the International Bach Academy, conducted by Helmuth Rilling. Most recently, in the 2014-15 season, he sang the role of Judas in J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Symphony Chorus.
      In addition to his work at the Charlotte Symphony and Wingate, Potter serves as the director of adult choirs at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina. As a clinician, he also frequently conducts festival choirs and music conferences.

      Potter's compositions have been published by Hinshaw Music, Choristers Guild, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He is also founder and editor of Wingate University Music Press, which publishes Folk Songs of South Africa, a series of pedagogical resources that he co-authored with Dalene Hoogenhout, conductor of the Wits Choir of Johannesburg.

      Potter resides in Charlotte with his wife, Heather, and their children, Syl and Calvin.