Donato Cabrera

Resident Conductor, San Francisco Symphony
Wattis Foundation Music Director,
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra

Donato Cabrera has been the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) since 2009. In 2014, Cabrera was appointed Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra and has been Music Director of the California Symphony and the New Hampshire Music Festival since 2013.

As SFS Resident Conductor, Donato Cabrera works closely with San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, and frequently conducts the San Francisco Symphony throughout the year, including the SFS’s annual Día de los Muertos Community Concert, Concerts for Kids, Adventures in Music, and Music for Families concerts. In 2012, Cabrera led the San Francisco Symphony Chorus with Paul Jacobs on organ, in the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Mass Transmission, subsequently conducting it with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City in Carnegie Hall for the American Mavericks Festival. Cabrera made his San Francisco Symphony debut in April 2009 when he conducted the Orchestra with 24 hours’ notice.

The 2014-15 season marks Donato Cabrera's sixth season as Music Director of the SFSYO. In 2012, Cabrera led the SFSYO on their eighth European tour; a series of six performances for which the orchestra won a 2011-12 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of American Music on Foreign Tours. From this tour, a critically acclaimed live recording from the Berlin Philharmonie of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 is available on SFS Media.

At the California Symphony, Cabrera is committed to featuring music by American composers, supporting young artists in the early stages of their careers, and commissioning world premieres from talented resident composers. Cabrera’s first season as Music Director of the New Hampshire Music Festival in summer 2013 expanded the festival’s orchestral and chamber concerts, and reestablished the Festival’s family concert series. 

A champion of new music, Donato Cabrera was a co-founder of the New York based American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), which is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers, and has led them in world premieres by Steve Reich and Mark Grey.

In 2002, Cabrera was a Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellow at the Salzburg Festival. He has served as assistant conductor at the Ravinia, Spoleto (Italy), and Aspen Music Festivals, and as resident conductor at the Music Academy of the West. Cabrera has also been an assistant conductor for productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 2005 to 2008, he was Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Opera and in 2009, he made his debut with the San Francisco Ballet. In March 2009, Cabrera was asked to be one of eight participants in the 2009 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, leading the Nashville Symphony over two days in a variety of works. Cabrera was the rehearsal and cover conductor for the Metropolitan Opera production and DVD release of Doctor Atomic, which won the 2012 Grammy® Award for Best Opera Recording.

In 2010, Donato Cabrera was recognized by the Consulate-General of Mexico in San Francisco as a Luminary of the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee, for his contributions to promoting and developing the presence of the Mexican community in the Bay Area. He holds degrees from the University of Nevada and the University of Illinois and has also pursued graduate studies in conducting at Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music.

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To view a PDF of Donato Cabrera's biography, click here.

September 2014