Artistic Director & General Manager
Gregory Hughes is the founding Artistic Director and principal conductor of Chicago’s Lakeview Orchestra, and was named the 2016 Conductor of the Year (Community Orchestra Category) by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. Mr. Hughes was described by the late Andrew Patner of 98.7 WFMT as a “phenomenal young conductor,” and Lawrence A. Johnson of Chicago Classical Review has praised his conducting as “surprisingly strong and compelling” while noting “the young conductor is a musician to watch.” He has collaborated with world-class artists including Rachel Barton Pine and Andrew Staupe, and many of Chicago’s finest musicians and arts organizations including Heather Wittels, Holly Mulcahy, David Schrader, Alexis Magarò, Irina Feoktistova, the Vox 3 Collective, and Ballet Chicago.
Mr. Hughes founded Lakeview Orchestra in January of 2013 and rapidly established the ensemble as the premiere volunteer orchestra in the City of Chicago. In 2016 Lakeview Orchestra garnered an unprecedented three awards in a single year from the Illinois Council of Orchestras, including the prestigious Orchestra of the Year (Community Orchestra Category) award. Under his leadership the orchestra performed the Chicago premiere of Carl Nielsen’s opera Maskarade with the Vox 3 Collective, and commissioned and premiered choreography for Márquez’s Danzón No. 2 in partnership with Ballet Chicago.
Equally comfortable in his role as Lakeview Orchestra’s General Manager, Hughes has orchestrated the rapid growth of the ensemble’s audience and community of donors. In 2017 the orchestra launched the Advancing Excellence: Making Moves campaign — the campaign itself a brainchild of Mr. Hughes — designed to dramatically increase the orchestra’s financial and artistic capacity. The successful completion of the campaign in 2018 consequently lead to the orchestra’s relocation to the Athenaeum Theatre, and significant investments in the ensemble’s audience development initiatives and artistic programs.
Mr. Hughes was educated at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Illinois, where he studied conducting with Daniel Sommerville and Paul Wiens, and bassoon with Jonathan Saylor. He has also studied conducting with Paul Vermel, Samuel Jones and Donald Portnoy at the Conductors Institute of South Carolina, and with Kirk Trevor and Frank Nemhauser at the International Conducting Institute in New York City.