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Jonathan Yates

Principal Orchestra Conductor

Music Director

Jonathan Yates is the Music Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony and the conductor of the Principal Orchestra. Jonathan has earned high praise as a conductor, solo pianist, and collaborative artist for his musicianship, intellect, and the remarkable variety of his musical endeavors.


He made his professional orchestral conducting debut at 23, leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a Millennium Stages Concert. 

The following year he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a participant in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop. Jonathan also serves as Music Director of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, where he has been a driving force in reinvigorating the relationship between the symphony and its community.

He has collaborated as a pianist and conductor with many of the country’s most respected musicians, including Midori, Kim Kashkashian, David Finckel, Charles Neidich, Ida Kavafian, Colin Carr, Gilbert Kalish, Paul Neubauer, Joseph Lin, and William Purvis; and the Avalon, Daedalus and Pacifica Quartets. He has been heard as a chamber musician at the 92nd Street Y, Miller Theater, Bargemusic and Merkin Hall, as well as at the Caramoor Festival and on the Ravinia Festival Rising Stars Series. As an ardent devotee of the music of our time, he has conducted new music concerts with the Argento Chamber Ensemble and the Knights, was the recipient of an ASCAP award for adventurous programming, and has given local and regional premieres of pre-eminent composers including Augusta Read Thomas, Huang Ruo, Zhou Long, Chester Biscardi, and Chen Yi.

Jonathan received his Graduate Diploma in conducting from the Juilliard School, where he studied with James DePreist and Otto-Werner Mueller, and was the holder of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship. He received his Master of Music from State University of New York, where he worked with Gilbert Kalish, and his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, where he studied with Robert Levin. His past work includes serving as founding Music Director of Camerata Notturna, as Music Director of Music Mountain, and on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College. He was recently named Director of Classical Series at 23Arts Windham Music and Jazz Fest. He descends from a family that has been on the forefront of the battles for the cultural and humanistic life of our country. His grandfather, U. S. Representative Sidney R. Yates, was the principal defender of the National Endowment for the Arts in his 48 years in Congress, and his father, the Honorable Stephen R. Yates, was the first judge in Illinois to approve same-sex adoption.

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