Director of Music and Arts

Dr. Jesse Leong

Possessing a repertoire of over forty-five operas and musicals ranging from Mozart and Puccini to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Sondheim, conductor and pianist Dr. Jesse Leong (he/they) is a musician of uncommon breadth and versatility. His conducting has been called “taut and assured” by Opera Today. He was named the 2019 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow by the Kurt Weill Foundation. In this capacity he served as Associate Conductor to Tony Award®-winning Artistic Director of MasterVoices (New York City) Ted Sperling on Lady in the Dark featuring another Tony winner, Victoria Clark. He has served as conductor, assistant conductor, and pianist at Cincinnati Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Queen City Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Leong became an in demand audio/video producer, and his work can now be seen at the University of Maryland College Park, Des Moines Metro Opera, College of Fellows of the American Theatre, Wear Yellow Proudly, Youth Music Monterey County, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, and Bella Voce a cappella ensemble. Also an accomplished author, his two book-length texts are “La bohème: A Connotative and Grammatical Translation,” an Italian language and grammatical reference book and “The Butterfly Effect: Color Conscious Casting in the 21st Century,” his doctoral dissertation focusing on the history of blackface and yellowface in opera performance, the transition between colorblind and color conscious casting, and featuring interviews with six industry professionals. 

Dr. Leong is thrilled to be joining the UCCSV community! Before coming to UCCSV, he served as Accompanist at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston since 2020 and as Music Director at St. Francis Parish in Cincinnati, OH, 2013-2019. He recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Maryland where he served as the Music Director of the UMD Repertoire Orchestra. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting and a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.