GRSMA musicians welcome GRS's new music director Marcelo Lehninger to Grand Rapids
by Eric Tanner - GRS Violin
Once you get past the name, getting to know our new Music Director, Marcelo Lehninger, is a breeze. The Marcelo part is an easy "sell,” and the "Lenin-grrrr" name is a perfect fit for our own "GRS". But don't address him as Maestro; that is a term he strongly feels is reserved for master teachers, not mere conductors! That's just one example of how humble and down-to-earth Marcelo is.
We are all familiar with Marcelo's numerous and incredible accomplishments - 4 years as Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles, where he was awarded the Helen M. Thompson Award by the League of American Orchestras, an unprecedented 5-year tenure with the Boston Symphony, first as Assistant Conductor, then as Associate Conductor. Before that, he served as assistant to Kurt Masur at several orchestras - the list goes on and on. But let's take a look at the personal side of our new Music Director.
Marcelo, 36, grew up in Brazil studying violin and piano. His father, Erich, is a reknowned concertmaster and chamber musician, while his mother, Sonia Goulart, is a highly sought-after solo pianist. Young Marcelo learned all about the conductor's world (what to do and especially what NOT to do!) from an orchestral musicians' perspective through his father's many experiences with famous conductors.
Marcelo is quite the family man these days, and it's no wonder. His wife and secret weapon (his words!), the charming Laura Anne Krech from Colorado, is a public health consultant and they met in Brazil where she was on assignment. He offered to help her with her Portugese, and she found that he had arranged their first lesson at a candlelight dinner at one of Rio's more exclusive restaurants! The rest is history...Laura and Marcelo have a darling 3-year-old daughter, Sofia, and are expecting their second daughter, Camilla, in late July. Sofia has already been caught on video playing violin at her aunt's house (Marcelo's sister in New Hampshire)!
Marcelo and his family currently live in Sarasota, Florida, but they are planning to move here and keep their Florida house as a winter getaway. Maybe we can talk them into hosting a symphony fundraising event for our GRS snowbird friends...
Watch for future articles to learn more about our amazing new Music Director, such as who his favorite composers are, or his most memorable or bizarre conducting experiences. For starters, Marcelo enjoys beer, steak and sushi, so it looks like he will be very happy in Grand Rapids. Welcome, Marcelo!