Conductor Ching-Chun Lai has held the post of Director of Orchestras and Associate Professor of Music at the Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam since 2011. During her tenure, the Crane Symphony Orchestra has performed in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In Potsdam (NY), Dr. Lai appears annually in Potsdam’s traditional holiday “Candlelight Concert”, broadcast nationwide by PBS.
Possessing knowledge of a wide range of symphonic repertoire, Dr. Lai has worked with professional orchestras in various settings, including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Chamber Players, Gstaad Festival Orchestra (Switzerland), Madison Bach Musicians, New Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria), Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She has prepared the orchestra and served as assistant/cover conductor for Gunther Schuller, JoAnn Falletta, and André Raphel, as well as Christof Perick, Larry Rachleff, and Duain Wolfe in the Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts. Dr. Lai has also collaborated with renowned artists, such as the Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet, percussionist Aiyun Huang, bassist Barry Green.
With her deep interest in opera and new music, Dr. Lai has conducted the world premiere of Maura Bosch’s opera Art and Desire, a University of Wisconsin-Madison commission. She has also worked for opera productions of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore, and Maria Stuarda, Handel’s Alcina, Massenet’s Thaïs, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and Britten’s Turn of the Screw. A great success, the performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Madison Bach Musicians were described in Isthmus as “consistently excellent, from the opening triple-chorus to the final double chorus, while the harmonized chorales were soaring anthems of faith.” She has also collaborated with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a founding member of the group, New Muse. With these dynamic musicians, Dr. Lai undertook several significant projects including fully-staged performances of Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies, and performances of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.
Dr. Lai twice received the Church Memorial Conducting Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in recognition of emerging conductors who show great professional promise. She was recently granted a competitive research award, the Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Leave Program sponsored by the State of New York/United University Professions. Recent interdisciplinary projects at SUNY-Potsdam include a collaboration with trombonist Burt Mason for the Untold Legacies residency-a series of concerts and discussions about diversity in classical music.
A Protégé of legendary Gunther Schuller, Dr. Lai also studied with Neeme Jarvi and Johannes Schlaefli at internationally renowned Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy in Switzerland, and participated in the Dallas Opera’s Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors. She has held faculty positions at The Ohio State University (Director of Orchestral Studies) and Mount Holyoke College (Orchestra Conductor).
Single tickets available at the Proctors Box Office – $15 or $22.
Proctors.org or 518-346-6204 fees will apply. No fees when purchasing in person at the Box Office.
2pm Pre-concert talk in the Fenimore Gallery, 3pm concert on the mainstage at Proctors.
Students 18 and under FREE when accompanied by an adult with paid ticket. Made possible by generous support from Price Chopper.