Described by the BBC Music Magazine as "2018 Rising Star", Italian conductor Valentina Peleggi is currently Mackerras Fellow at the English National Opera and Guest Music Director at the Theatro Sao Pedro in Sao Paulo, where she was voted Best Opera Conductor in Brazil 2019 by Movimento magazine. She was Resident Conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2018, and Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of their professional chorus from 2017-2019.
In the 19/20 season she conducts ENO’s production of Carmen, having debuted last season with La Boheme and subsequently with Orpheus in the Underworld and with a studio production of Dido and Aeneas. Symphonic debuts in the UK this season include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony and the BBC Scottish Symphony, in which she premieres a new orchestration of Alma Mahler songs by Roxana Panufnik (specially commissioned by the BBC for Ms Peleggi). She returns to the Orchestra della Toscana in her home town of Florence, conducts two successive weeks with the Richmond Symphony in Virginia (USA), and debuts with the Residentie Orkest Den Haag, the Gulbenkian Orchestra and the National Symphony in Dublin. This Spring her first CD will be released on the Naxos label, featuring a cappella works by Villa Lobos in a new critical edition, guest edited by Valentina and performed by the Sao Paulo Symphony Chorus.
Last season’s highlights included a return to the Baltimore Symphony and a concert for International Women’s Day with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, featuring works by the African American composer Florence Price, and the rediscovered French 19th century composer Augusta Holmes. Past guest appearances have also included the Norrkoping Symphony, Orchestra del Teatro Verdi in Trieste, Omaha Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Valdivia (Chile) and Orquestra Filharmonica de Goias (Brazil); she has also worked with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. She has collaborated with soloists such as Baiba Skride, Jan Liesecki, Alexander Melnikov, Louis Schwizgebel, Boris Belkin, Simone Lamsma and Yuri Bashmet. During her years with the Sao Paulo Symphony Peleggi conducted many subscription concerts, and continues to return as a guest. She won the APCA Prize in 2016 as Conductor of the Year from the Sao Paulo Society of Critics of the Arts and was voted “Young Talent of 2017” by readers of Brazil’s specialist music magazine Revista Concerto.
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 prizes along the way. She assisted Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Semyon Bychkov, Christian Thielemann and furthered her studies with David Zinman and Daniele Gatti at the Zurich Tonhalle and at the Royal Concertgebouw. She holds a Master in Conducting from the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome with honours, and in 2013 was awarded 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. Peleggi nurtures strong connections with her fellow musicians; from 2005 to 2015 she was the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the University Choir in Florence, and remains their Honorary Conductor, receiving in 2011 a special award from the Government in recognition of her work there. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, received a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship 2015-2017 under Marin Alsop.
"Peleggi shaped the score with abundant vitality and lyrical intensity, drawing a crackling response from the BSO."
"Her enthusiasm was stunning. Her language with the ensemble portrayed the journey of the title characters with almost as much distinction as the interplay between the brass and strings."
"Peleggi gave an excellent performance, effectively communicating its energetic and sparkling character… and yet also emphasising the more lyrical mood of the inner movements…a remarkable success."