Ming Luke, Music Director
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; 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 2018-2019 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 collaborating with dance companies and deepening the impact of movement to live music, he 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. He is noted for his 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.
Photo by Roger Wyan