Photo Credit: Yasmeen Anderson


New Jersey All-State Orchestra, Photo Credit: Karen Mancinelli

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Brent Chancellor serves as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra and as a Cover Conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Admired for his imaginative programming and charismatic stage presence, Chancellor has been praised as an “ideal podium artist in the 21st century” (Marcos Balter, composer) and a conductor “leading orchestras to a bright future” (Linda Beard, SOPAC).

Propelled by his vision to make symphonic music relevant to new audiences, Chancellor designs and presents programs which reimagine how the orchestra collaborates and connects with people. Since 2016, his programs and education concerts have brought the orchestra to life by exploring symphonic music through captivating lighting, videography, narration and audience participation.

Chancellor has performed on some of the world’s foremost stages including Carnegie Hall, BAM, Symphony Space and NJPAC, and in 2019 was invited to lead performances with The Irish Tenors East Coast Holiday Tour and the New Jersey All-State Orchestra. Previous positions include Assistant Conductor with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Festival Napa Valley, New Jersey Festival Orchestra and Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. He’s served as an Assistant Conductor to Stéphane Denève, Martin West, Nicholas McGegan, Otto Tausk and Joel Revzen for concerts featuring André Watts, Leon Fleisher, Robert Levin, Seong-Jin Cho, Angel Blue and Lester Lynch.

As Founder and Artistic Director of LUX, Chancellor’s ambitious vision for concert programming and education has paired Grammy® Award winning violinist Zach Brock (Snarky Puppy/Phil Markowitz/Zach Brock Quartet) with emerging and under-represented musicians from the New York area to present in-school orchestra concerts for students. Under his leadership, LUX partnered with the South Orange Performing Arts Center and Carnegie Hall’s Link Up! program to established a district-wide orchestra initiative collaborating with composers, photographers, videographers, teachers, artists and electronic musicians to share symphonic music through exciting multi-genre experiences.

A rising opera conductor, Chancellor has led numerous productions with musicians and young artists from The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Hailed by Mignon Dunn as “a real singers’ conductor”, Chancellor serves as a Conductor with the International Vocal Arts Institute in New York where he’s collaborated with many notable artists including Nadine Sierra, Natalie Aroyan, Maya Lahyani, Marcelo Guzzo and Sharleen Joynt, as well as directors Marc Verzatt, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, Joshua Major, Ira Siff and Lawrence Edelson.

In 2018, Chancellor stepped in last minute to conduct highly praised performances of The Rape of Lucretia leading to his immediate appointment as Interim Music Director of the Montclair State University Opera Orchestra. From 2008-2012 he served as Assistant Conductor to Paul Nadler on productions including Ariadne auf NaxosLa Traviata, Don Pasquale and Lucia di Lammermoor, and concerts with the Israel Chamber Orchestra and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie. Among his opera credits are ToscaMadama ButterflyDon GiovanniDie Zauberflöte, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Bohème and L’enfant et les sortilèges.

Devoted to promoting new music and diverse voices, Chancellor champions the works of living composers through programming, commissions, premieres and advocacy. Recent performances include works by Amanda Harberg, Lowell Liebermann, John Corigliano, John Adams and Michael Torke. In 2015 Chancellor led the New Jersey premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s, Lichtbogen, and his 2001 performance of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase as a student was praised by the composer as “one of the best performances” he had heard. An award-winning composer, Chancellor’s music has been performed at the Festival of New American Music, Festival of the Arts, Center for Contemporary Art and NY Fashion Week.

Chancellor studied at the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen, California State University Sacramento, the John J. Cali School of Music and Rutgers University. As an emerging artist, he’s attended the Cabrillo Festival and held conducting fellowships with the Blackburn Music Academy, the International Vocal Arts Institute and Allentown Symphony. He’s learned from many celebrated musicians including conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Riccardo Muti, Markand Thakar and Johannes Schlaefli, composers George Crumb, Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros and Aaron J. Kernis, and opera coaches Joan Dornemann, Gerald Martin Moore, Benton Hess and Sherrill Milnes. His mentors include Paul Nadler (Metropolitan Opera), Ken Lam (Charleston Symphony) and Michael Adelson (New York Philharmonic).