Washington’s Bellingham Festival of Music has appointed Marcelo Lehninger as artistic director, with a five-year contract. He succeeds Michael Palmer, the festival’s co-founder and conductor laureate, who led the event from 1993 to 2022. The Brazilian-born Lehninger made his Bellingham debut this summer. In his inaugural 2024 season, he will conduct all five of the orchestral concerts. Lehninger is currently music director of Michigan’s Grand Rapids Symphony, where his appointment was recently extended through 2030. He previously served as music director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles, and was recognized with the Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras. For five years, he was assistant and then associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Lehninger’s engagements include the Sarasota Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and San Antonio Philharmonic; Peninsula Music Festival, Prague Philharmonia (Czech Republic), MAV Symphony (Hungary), and the Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra and Minas Gerais Philharmonic (Brazil). He has guest conducted in the U.S., Europe, and South America, with a particular focus on the orchestras of Brazil. Lehninger studied violin and piano, and holds a master’s degree from the Conductors Institute at New York’s Bard College.