“Best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of [Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet]”

Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle

“Limitless energy and inventiveness”

René Mandel, Executive Director, Berkeley Symphony

“Make that mind blowing”

Nancy Graham Holm, Huffington Post

WELCOME to the homepage of conductor Ming Luke

Las Cruces Symphony
Music Director

Merced Symphony
Music Director

San Francisco Ballet
Principal Guest Conductor

Nashville Ballet
Music Director and Principal Conductor

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
Music Director

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Join Ming’s mission to connect and collaborate with creatives across disciplines to deepen the impact of music for a global audience.

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.  The 20-21 season Luke conducts San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, and at Classical Tahoe with musicians of the Met Opera Orchestra.  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; Music Director and 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.  

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. 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

SEPTEMBER 2022

Las Cruces Symphony
September 3, 4, 2022
Season Opening Concert – Symphonic Dances
For more information click here.

Merced Symphony
September 17, 2022
Season Opening Concert
For more information click here.

San Francisco Chamber Orchestra
September 21, 2022
Records from a Vanishing City
For more information click here.

OCTOBER 2022

Nashville Ballet
October 6, 7, 8, 9, 2022
Cinderella
For more information click here.

NOVEMBER 2022

Nashville Ballet
November 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 2022
Live in Studio A
For more information click here.

Berkeley Symphony
November 1, 9, 10, 14, 15, 18
Meet the Symphony Education Concerts

San Francisco Symphony
November 17, 18, 19, 2022
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

DECEMBER 2022

Merced Symphony
December 3, 2022
Holiday Pops
For more information click here.

Nashville Ballet
December 9, 10m, 10, 11, 16, 17m, 17, 18m, 18, 21, 22m, 22, 23m, 23, 24, 2022
Nutcracker
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
December 14m, 15m, 15, 26m, 27m, 2022
Nutcracker
For more information click here.

JANUARY 2023

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
January 6, 7, 8, 2023
Mozart Mass in C Minor
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
January 20-February 11, 2023
NEXT@90
For more information click here.

FEBRUARY 2023

San Francisco Ballet
January 20-February 11, 2023
NEXT@90
For more information click here.

Berkeley Symphony
I’m a Performer Education Concerts
Dates TBD

San Francisco Ballet
February 24, 25, 26, 28, 2023
Giselle
For more information click here.

MARCH 2023

San Francisco Ballet
March 1, 2, 4, 5, 2023
Giselle
For more information click here.

Merced Symphony
March 8, 9, 2023
Education Concerts
For more information click here.

Las Cruces Symphony
March 18, 19, 2023
The Planets
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
March 31, 2023
Cinderella
For more information click here.

APRIL 2023

San Francisco Ballet
April 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 2023
Cinderella
For more information click here.

Nashville Ballet
April 21, 22, 23, 2023
New in Nashville
For more information click here.

San Francisco Ballet
April 30, 2023
Swan Lake
For more information click here.

MAY 2023

Las Cruces Symphony
May 6, 7, 2023
Tchaikovsky
For more information click here.

San Francisco Symphony
May 25, 26, 27 2023
Asst. Conductor
For more information click here.

JUNE 2023

Merced Symphony
June 3, 2023
Die Meistersingers
For more information click here.

Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra
June 9, 10, 11, 2023
Elijah
For more information click here.

JULY 2023

Festival Napa Valley
July 6-23, 2023
For more information click here.

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