I am writing this letter on behalf of the young Brazilian conductor, Marcelo Lehninger whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time in May 2007 at one of my master classes in Rio de Janeiro. I can remember very fondly my collaboration with Marcelo because, for me, he was an unexpected discovery. I was very happy to see how he could develop and what he could achieve during this short time in Rio. His strong personality and his musical honesty impressed me and I never felt that he tried to imitate me or other conductors - he always tried to find his own truth.
Subsequently, this year when I was asked to select two conductors to receive the first Conducting Scholarship awarded by American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation, Marcelo Lehninger was my first choice. This scholarship gave Marcelo Lehninger the opportunity to hone his musical knowledge and skills as he traveled with me in Europe and assisted me with the Orchestre National de France, the Gewandhaus Orchestra and in the end in New York with the New York Philharmonic. During this time I got to know Marcelo a little bit better, he is indeed a very serious musician. His work is fresh, well prepared, inspiring and sensitive. He is a young man of integrity, an honest and dedicated person always eager to learn and able to use what he has learned in practice.
When you meet Marcelo Lehninger you would think, here is another nice friendly fellow conductor but once he gets on the podium, his whole demeanor suddenly changes and he turns into this inspiring and exciting conductor. There is no doubt in my mind that Marcelo Lehninger has a promising future as a conductor ahead of him and I would not hesitate to recommend him.