Rated #1 by the Chicago Sun-Times for “Chicago’s best classical music/opera moments of 2013,” Leslie B. Dunner conducted South Shore Opera Company’s fall production of William Grant Still’s opera “Troubled Island.” It was described as “The most history-making event of the year.” In 2014, he joined their Board of Directors. Other engagements included South Africa’s annual “Starlight Pop Opera” concert with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic and the South Shore Opera Company’s annual spring opera program. He conducted Opera Ebony’s spring 2013 tribute to Verdi with scenes from “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata” in New York City; the Opera/Ballet Gala performance of “Carmen” in Guadalajara, Mexico during the Opening Ceremonies for the 2011 International Pan American Games; and Opera Africa’s 2007 production of Mziliazi Khumalo’s opera “Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu” at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Norway.
In 2014, Dunner conducted the American Opera Projects’ world premiere of Nkeiru Okoye’s opera, “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line To Freedom” in New York City. He also returned to the Orlando Philharmonic, conducting their spring 2014 Super Series Program, “Music of the Ballet.” In 2014-15, Dunner returned to the South Shore Opera Company for operatic and concert performances as Music Director, conducted a subscription week with the Orlando Philharmonic, returned to Opera Ebony to conduct their production of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”, and debuted with “Skylight Music Theatre of Milwaukee,” conducting 42 performances of The Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
Dr. Dunner’s guest conducting has included appearances with virtually every major U.S. orchestra. He has worked with orchestras in Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Estonia, South Africa, Italy, and Spain. Ballet engagements have included The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, the Washington, Orlando and Madison Ballets, London’s Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and The Birmingham Royal Ballet (in London and on tour throughout England), Michigan Opera Theatre, and The South African Ballet Theatre.
In 2011, Dr. Dunner was Interim Music Director for the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco, Mexico. Previously, he worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for 11 seasons as Resident, Associate and Assistant Conductor respectively. He was Music Director of Canada’s Symphony Nova Scotia From 1996-1999, and Music Director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra until 2003. He helped reinvigorate that institution, bringing national recognition for high artistic achievement, broad programming, a composer-in-residence initiative, and innovative educational experiences. From 2003-2009, Maestro Dunner was Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, conducting nationally and internationally to critical acclaim.
Performing in Histoire du Soldat (Soldier’s Tale), February 18, 2017