(c) Kristen Loken
(c) Kristen Loken

 Donato Cabrera


Brief Biography

Donato Cabrera is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and served as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2009-2016.


Since Cabrera's appointment as Music Director of the California Symphony in 2013, the organization has reached new artistic heights by implementing innovative programming that emphasizes welcoming newcomers and loyalists alike, building on its reputation for championing music by living composers, and committing to programming music by women and people of color.

Cabrera has also greatly changed the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s concert experience by expanding the scope and breadth of its orchestral concerts. Deeply committed to diversity and education through the arts, Cabrera evaluates the scope, breadth, and content of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic’s music education programs.


In recent seasons, Cabrera has made impressive debuts with the National Symphony’s KC Jukebox at the Kennedy Center, Louisville Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, New West Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, and the Reno Philharmonic. In 2016, he led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances with Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs. Cabrera made his Carnegie Hall debut leading the world premiere of Mark Grey’s Ătash Sorushan with soprano, Jessica Rivera.


Awards and fellowships include a Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival and conducting the Nashville Symphony in the League of American Orchestra’s prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. 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.



San Jose Mercury News

“Tall and energetic, he's a passionate, heart-on-the-sleeve conductor, with eclectic musical tastes and a wealth of experience.”



“Cabrera’s conducting – beautiful, accurate and attentive – steers this wonderful mechanism with authority.”

Chicago Classical Review

“With precise direction, conductor Donato Cabrera drew a taut, highly responsive performance eliciting rich, luminous tone from the ensemble.”


Luxury Las Vegas

"Donato [Cabrera] seeks to prove that Las Vegas can stand alongside the other great musical artistic cities across the country. Now in his second year as conductor, he is well on his way to achieving that dream."


Luxemburger Wort (on a performance of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra)

Donato Cabrera confirmed his high musical caliber and outstanding dramatic potential with technical competence and exuberant vivacity.


Berliner Zeitung (on a performance of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra)

Donato Cabrera, who also serves as chief conductor of the Las Vegas Philharmonic (yes, there is such a thing even in that city), is a quintessential kapellmeister and orchestral trainer…. He coaxes the musicians to listen attentively to their instrumental groups. The result is extremely impressive as regards the ensemble’s sound and clean interaction.


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