RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After a two-year long search the Richmond Symphony Orchestra announced it has named Valentina Peleggi as its new music director — making her the first woman to lead the orchestra since it was founded in 1957.

“The passion, enthusiasm and profound musical sensitivity of the musicians of the
Richmond Symphony impressed me enormously from our very first rehearsal. Making
music with these wonderful artists is truly a privilege,” said Peleggi. “I look forward to
creating exciting new projects, sharing inspiring music with our community, and working
with the Symphony’s staff and the orchestra’s innovative educational and choral

Peleggi replaces Steven Smith, who stepped down as the orchestra’s music director at the end of the 2018-2019 season. The RSO said its search committee, made up of symphony musicians and board members, unanimously selected Peleggi after she spent two weeks with the Symphony in early March.

“Within hours of Ms. Peleggi’s first interaction with the Symphony, members of the search committee knew she was very special, and by the time of her Masterworks concerts, there was
unanimous agreement that she was ‘the one,” said Elisabeth Wollan, who led the search committee. “Peleggi stands out as a superb and passionate leader who brings to the orchestra a remarkable depth of musicianship, a charming connection with audiences, and a deep respect for the RSO’s commitment this community. She is inspiring! We cannot wait to welcome her to Richmond.”

The new director comes with an impressive resume, leading orchestras from
around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Orchestra of Wales,
Norrkoping Symphony in Sweden, Orchestra della Toscana and Baltimore Symphony

“I am delighted that the Richmond Symphony has attracted Valentina Peleggi: her growing international reputation as one of the brightest talents of her generation makes her an exciting new addition to the American symphonic world,” said David Fisk, executive director.

The orchestra said Pelegi will start on July 1, and conduct eight weeks of concerts during the 2020/21 season. Her debut concert will be with a ‘Big Tent’ open-air community festival.