Donato Cabrera


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 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.

 Under Donato’s leadership, the Las Vegas Philharmonic recently announced that with subscription sales higher than ever, its 2015-16 season will expand from 11 to 19 concerts, including five Sunday matinees. In addition to featuring symphonic works by Beethoven, Brahms, Gershwin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and Sibelius, the season will include music by acclaimed American composers Mason Bates, Philip Glass, D. J. Sparr and Dan Visconti, demonstrating Cabrera’s commitment to programming music by living composers.

 The 2015-16 season marks Cabrera’s seventh season as Music Director of the SFSYO. In 2012, he lead the orchestra in their eighth European tour, which 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. Cabrera lead the orchestra in their ninth tour of Europe in summer 2015, performing celebrated concerts in Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Prague’s Smetana Hall, and again in Berlin’s Philharmonie.

 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. 

 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. In September 2012 he conducted ACME in the world premiere of the all-live version of Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11 for three string quartets and tape at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. He made his Carnegie Hall and Cal Performances debuts leading the world and California premieres, respectively, of Mark Grey’s ?tash Sorushan. In 2010, Cabrera stepped in on short notice for the acclaimed British composer/conductor/pianist Thomas Adès to conduct the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

 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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The Bushnell: 166 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106