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 three-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 Ulster Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and at Teatro Colón 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, where she returns this season to conduct an a cappella 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 São Pedro in São 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, was awarded a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and received 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 she received 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.
Nürnberger Nachrichten, January 2023
"The strong emotions of this symphonic warhorse were given the right dose of artistic temperament from Peleggi…deliciously capricious, with finely differentiated dynamics… She had clearly convinced her musicians, and the public responded in kind: 'Brava, Valentina'!"
GB Opera Magazine, May 2022
"Peleggi succeeds in engaging the emotions with an unsentimental, personal, intense and tension-filled performance of this masterpiece. With confident gestures, she knows how to accompany and support the singers, helping them to avoid the traps of stereotyping and exaggeration, and giving them the opportunity to express themselves to the full."
The Guardian, July 2021
"Peleggi conducts with marvellous flair and precision"