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, whose contract with the California Symphony has recently been extended through the 2022-23 season, continues to provide his award-winning programming; oversee the selection process of the California Symphony’s celebrated Young American Composer-in-Residence program; and advise on the planning and development of the Symphony’s music education programs and community engagement activities.
Cabrera has greatly changed the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s concert experience by expanding the scope and breadth of its orchestral concerts, hosting engaging and lively pre-concert conversations with guest artists and composers, and by creating the Spotlight Concert series that showcases the musicians of the Philharmonic in intimate chamber music performances. Cabrera has also reenergized the Youth Concert Series by creating an engaging and interactive curriculum-based concert experience. The twentieth anniversary season of 2018-19 also marks the introduction of the Music Van, delivering music and its benefits to the diverse community of Las Vegas through mobile activations and experiences.
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.
As Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Cabrera worked closely with its Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and frequently conducted the orchestra in a variety of concerts, including all of the education and family concerts, reaching over 70,000 children throughout the Bay Area every year. During his seven seasons as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Cabrera took the group on two European tours, winning an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of American Music on Foreign Tours, and receiving critical acclaim for a live recording from the Berlin Philharmonie of Mahler's Symphony No. 1.
Cabrera is equally at home in the world of opera. He was the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2008, and has also been an assistant conductor for productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Ravinia Festival, Festival di Spoleto, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West. Since 2008, Cabrera has frequently conducted productions in Concepción, Chile.
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.
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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.