“Limitless energy and inventiveness”

René Mandel, Executive Director, Berkeley Symphony

“Make that mind blowing”

Nancy Graham Holm, Huffington Post

“Best live theater performance I’ve ever heard”

Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle

 

WELCOME to the homepage of conductor Ming Luke

San Francisco Ballet
Principal Guest Conductor since 2017, Staff Conductor since 2011

Festival Napa Valley
Founder and Program Director – Blackburn Music Academy

Nashville Ballet
Principal Conductor

Merced Symphony
Music Director, since 2013

Berkeley Symphony
Associate Conductor and Education Director, since 2006

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
Music Director, since 2011

 

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Biography

 

With the “energy, creativity and charisma not seen since Leonard Bernstein” and “vibrant,” “mind-blowing,” and “spectacular” conducting, Ming Luke is a versatile conductor that has excited audiences around the world.  Highlights include conducting the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow, performances of Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella at the Kennedy Center, his English debut at Sadler’s Wells with Birmingham Royal, conducting Dvorak’s Requiem in Dvorak Hall in Prague, recording scores for a Coppola film, and over a hundred performances at the San Francisco War Memorial with San Francisco Ballet.  He has been recognized nationally for his work with music education and has designed and conducted education concerts and programs with organizations such as the Berkeley Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and others.  Luke has soloed as a pianist with Pittsburgh Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and San Francisco Ballet, and currently serves as Music Director for the Merced Symphony and Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra; Principal Conductor of the Nashville Ballet, Associate Conductor for the Berkeley Symphony; and Principal Guest Conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.  Long time critic Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Ming Luke delivered the best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of [Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet]” and in 2016 Luke’s War Requiem was named best choral performance of 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

For the 18-19 season, Luke serves as an Assistant/Cover Conductor for the San Francisco Symphony, opens the Berkeley Symphony’s season, works with the ARIA program with San Francisco Opera, and will return to the Kennedy Center and Sadler’s Wells in London with San Francisco Ballet.  Guesting at the San Bernardino Symphony, Billings Symphony, and Opera San Jose, Luke will also embark on a Baltics tour with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, a well regarded chorus for whom he is only the third Music Director in over fifty years.

Passionate about collaboration with dance companies and deepening the impact of movement to live music, Luke has guested with Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Nashville Symphony/Ballet, San Diego Ballet and others and conducted l’Orchestre Prométhée in Paris as part of San Francisco Ballet’s residency with Les Etés de la Danse. Noted for is work with Ballet.  Famed dancer Natalia Makarova stated, “Ming has a mixture of pure musicality and a sensitivity to needs of the dancers, which are such rare qualities.

Luke has written, arranged, and performed over 150 education concerts with the Berkeley Symphony and has served on grant panels for the National Endowment of the Arts and the Grants and Cultural Committee of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. An exciting pops conductor, Luke has created and conducted a variety of pops concerts in many venues, from baseball stadiums, to picnics in the park with over 4,000 people in attendance, traditional concert halls and recording for Major League Baseball.

Ming Luke holds a Master of Fine Arts in Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Read what the press has to say here.

 

Education & Family Programming

Ming Luke offers several programs geared towards children and families.  All of the performances that he has developed adhere to state and national curriculum standards in music.  To bring one of the example concerts below to your orchestra, or to collaborate with Ming on a new program, please contact him.

What is American Music?
America is the great melting pot, but what does that mean for the American Symphony and classical music? Explore how all the various cultures that make up what it means to be American come together in music to make our distinctly American musical sounds. With favorite works from Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin and more, this educational and fun concert will show you the crossing of musical styles that created today’s American music.

Repertoire:
American In Paris by Gershwin
West Side Story (arr. Mason) by Bernstein
Hoedown from Rodeo by Copland
Washington Post March by Sousa
Maple Leaf Rag (arr. for orch) by Joplin
Oh When the Saints Go Marchin’ In (arr. in Dixie style)

Target audience: upper elementary

Who Messed Up My Orchestra?
Famous maestro Rusty van Beethoven, descendant of Ludwig van Beethoven, has come to perform his great ancestor’s Fifth Symphony. But something is wrong – the orchestra members are all jumbled up! Learn about the different sections of the orchestra in this hilarious and educational show as Rusty tries to figure out how to rearrange the orchestra so that he can perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Repertoire:
Beethoven Symphony No. 5 first mvt
Tchaikovsky Symphony third mvt
Mozart Divertimento K136 first mvt
William Tell Overture by Rossini
Overture to Die Fledermaus by Strauss II

Target audience – lower elementary

I’ve Got Rhythm, No Wait I Don’t!
Famous soprano Carrie Hennessey will now sing Gershwin’s famous song I’ve Got Rhythm. But something is wrong–she’s lost her sense of rhythm! Join us in this hilarious exploration of the difference between tempo and rhythm as Carrie and the orchestra try to regain her sense of timing again. Students and families will explore all sorts of famous rhythms and tempos through the repertoire of Bizet, Marquez, Haydn and more!

Repertoire:
Bizet – Danse Boheme, Habanera, and Les Toreador from Carmen
Haydn Symphony 94 2nd mvt.
Marquez – Danzon No. 2
Holst – Dargasson from St. Paul’s Suite

Target audience – families (all ages)

Powerful Percussion!
Boom! Crash! Bang! There are dozens of different types of percussion instruments that are used in orchestras – this concert includes everything… and the kitchen sink! Anything you hit, shake or scrape can become a percussion instrument – explore the wacky history of percussion instruments. Hear when Beethoven had a Turkish Army walk through his Ninth Symphony, the resounding power of the timpani in the finale of the Dance Bachannale, and, who knows, maybe you’ll join us on stage to play for Mozart’s Toy Symphony!

Includes excerpts from:
1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky
Dance Bacchanale by Saint-Saëns
Dance Macabre by Saint-Saëns
Typewriter by Anderson
Ruins of Athens by Beethoven
Beethoven Symphony 9
Toy Symphony by Haydn
Cucina Bella by Crockarell

Target audience – families (all ages)

Upcoming Events

To see a list of Ming’s past engagements, click here.

SEPTEMBER 2019

San Francisco Symphony
September 4, 2019
Opening Night Gala
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

San Francisco Symphony
September 5, 2019
All San Francisco Concert with MTT
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

Nashville Ballet
September 20, 21, 22, 2019
Romeo and Juliet
For more information click here.

San Francisco Symphony
September 27, 28, 29, 2019
Stravinsky and Haydn
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

OCTOBER 2019

Merced Symphony
October 5, 2019
Season Opener with Ralph van Raat
For more information click here.

San Francisco Symphony
October 17, 18, 19, 2019
Pictures & Percussion
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

NOVEMBER 2019

Berkeley Symphony
November 2, 2019
Family Concerts
For more information click here.

Berkeley Symphony
November 1-9, 2019
Meet the Symphony Concerts
For more information click here.

San Francisco Symphony
November 7, 8, 9, 2019
Koopman Leads 18th-Century Delights
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

Merced Symphony
November 24, 2019
Holiday Candlelight
For tickets click here.

DECEMBER 2019

Nashville Ballet
December 7-23, 2019
Nutcracker
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
December 12, 24, 26, 27, 28, 2019
Nutcracker
For more information click here.

JANUARY 2020

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
January 10, 11, 12, 2020
Mozart and Haydn
For more information click here.

Merced Symphony
January 16, 17, 2020
Education Concerts
For tickets click here.

Merced Symphony
January 17, 2020
Gershwin Pops Concert
For tickets click here.

San Francisco Ballet
January 16, 2020
Opening Night Gala (Cover conductor)
For more information click here.

FEBRUARY 2020

San Francisco Ballet
February 1, 2, 2020
Cinderella
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
February 11-22, 2020
Classical (Re)Vision
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
February 13-23, 2020
Dance Innovations
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
February 25, 2020
Sensorium
For more information click here.

MARCH 2020

San Francisco Ballet
March 6-15, 2020
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
March 24-April 4, 2020
Ballet Accelerator
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
March 26-April 5, 2020
Present Perspectives
For more information click here.

Sacramento Philharmonic
March 31, 2020
Link Up Program
For more information click here.

APRIL 2020

Merced Symphony
April 11, 2020
Brahms and Beethoven
For tickets click here.

Nashville Ballet
April 24, 25, 26, 2020
Modern Masters
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
April 15-21, 2020
Jewels
For more information click here.

MAY 2020

San Francisco Symphony
April 30, May 1, 2, 2020
Beethoven 250th
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

JUNE 2020

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
June 5, 6, 7, 2020
Bruckner and Pärt Te Deums
For more information click here.

JULY 2020

Festival Napa Valley
July 10-26, 2020
For more information click here.

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