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Announcing Conductor Donato Cabrera’s 2019-2020 Season Continues as Music Director of California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic
Source: Christina Jensen

San Francisco, CA – Conductor Donato Cabreraannounces his 2019-2020 engagements, including his seventh season with the California Symphony and sixth season with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Cabrera also guest conducts the Reno Chamber Orchestra as a Music Director candidate and makes his debut leading Opera San Jose in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.


As Music Director of California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, Cabrera’s programming showcases a personalized and integrated vision for both orchestras. “I’m very excited about the programs that I’ve created for both the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic as they are not only chock full of music about which I’m deeply passionate, but each program represents a carefully crafted and curated concert that is part of a particularly chosen path that I set for both orchestras,” explains Cabrera. “I am consciously choosing repertoire that is more diverse and is a truer reflection of the communities that the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic serves, as well as providing multi-year retrospectives of the composers we all know and love.”


Cabrera returns to guest conduct the Reno Chamber Orchestra on October 19 & 20, 2019, this time as a candidate for the Music Director position. A native of Reno, Cabrera says, “Returning to my home town as a music director candidate for the orchestra with which I made my professional debut is a circle that I never envisioned closing. In this regard, it’s almost better than a dream come true!”


Cabrera’s career has straddled both the operatic and symphonic repertoire, and April 18-May 2, 2020, he makes his debut with Opera San Jose. “I am very happy to be once again delving into the fantastical world of Mozart’s The Magic Flute with such a strong cast, the director Brad Dalton, and the fantastic Opera San Jose Orchestra,” says Cabrera.



Donato Cabrera’s 2019-2020 Appearances with California Symphony


All performances take place at Lesher Center for the Arts | 1601 Civic Dr | Walnut Creek, CA

Tickets are on sale at or through the Lesher Center Box Office by phone (925.943.7469) or in person. Tickets include free, 30-minute pre-concert talk starting one hour before each performance.


Iconic Beethoven

Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8pm and Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 4pm


BEETHOVENThe Creatures of Prometheus Overture

FRANKLa Centinela y la Paloma (The Keeper and the Dove)

MAHLERLieder (Songs)

            Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano

BEETHOVENSymphony No. 5


Mozart and his Mentor

Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 8pm and Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 4pm


MOZARTSymphony No. 1

PUTSFlute Concerto

            Annie Wu, flute

HAYDN: Symphony No. 104


Brahms Fest

Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 8pm and Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 4pm


BRAHMSHungarian Dance No. 5

BRAHMSSymphony No. 3

BRAHMSConcerto for Violin and Cello

            Alina Kobialka, violin

            Oliver Herbert, cello


Fate and Future

Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 8pm and Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 4pm


BALCH: Illuminations for Three Voices and Orchestra (World Premiere)

            Kelly Guerra, mezzo-soprano

            Molly Netter, soprano

            Alexandra Smither, soprano

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5


Four Seasons Finale

Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 8pm and Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 4pm


WALKER: Lyric for Strings

PӒRT: Fratres 

REICH: Duet for Two Violins and Strings

Alexi Kenney, violin

            Jennifer Cho, concertmaster

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons



Donato Cabrera’s 2019-2020 Appearances with Las Vegas Philharmonic


All performances take place at The Smith Center | 61 Symphony Park Avenue | Las Vegas, NV

Tickets are on sale at or through the Smith Center Box Office by phone (702.749.2000) or in person.


Donato Cabrera and special guests will continue to host pre-concert conversations one hour prior to each performance in Reynolds Hall to discuss the works to be performed and the history behind the music.


Opening Night - Pictures at an Exhibition

Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 7:30pm


CLYNE: Masquerade

TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35

            Francesca Dego, violin

MUSSORGSKY (arr. RAVEL): Pictures at an Exhibition 


Very Vegas Showcase

Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 7:30pm


Arr. CUSTER: A Tribute to Duke

RYAN HELMUTH: Horror Bound

MICHAEL BRENNAN: Cantata in F Minor

FRANK SINATRA: Fly Me to the Moon

Arr. RICKETTS: A Tribute to the King

FITZGERALD: Embraceable You




The Music of Danny Elfman


Cabrera conducts music from The Simpsons, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, and more.


A Baroque Holiday – Handelʼs Messiah

Friday, December 6, 2019 at 7:30pm


MANFREDINI: Concerto Grosso Op. 3, No. 12 “Christmas”

CORELLI: Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 8 “Christmas”

HANDEL: Messiah (Part I)

            Katrina Galka, soprano

            Aleks Romano, mezzo-soprano

            Joshua Dennis, tenor

            Luis Orozco, baritone

            Las Vegas Master Singers


Dvořák, Brahms and Smetana

Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7:30pm


SMETANA: Overture to The Bartered Bride

DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 8

BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2


Beethoven, Mozart & Britten

Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 7:30pm


MOZART: Serenade No. 11, K.375 in E-Flat Major

BRITTEN: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings

            Bill Bernatis, horn

            Brian Thorsett, tenor

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4


Vivaldi Four Seasons – March Into The Stradosphere

Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 8pm


VIVALDI: The Four Seasons


Kurt Weill’s America

Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 7:30pm


WEILL: Symphonic Nocturne from Lady in the Dark

WEILL: Symphony No. 2

WEILL: The Seven Deadly Sins - Text by Bertolt Brecht

WEILL: Mack the Knife from The Threepenny Opera


Season Finale – Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4

Saturday, May 9, 2020 at 7:30pm


GABRIELA LENA FRANK: Three Latin American Dances

R. STRAUSS: Four Last Songs

            Josefin Feiler, soprano

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4



Donato Cabrera’s 2019-2020 Guest Appearances


Reno Chamber Orchestra 

Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 2pm


WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll

SAMUEL ADAMS: Chamber Concerto for Violin

            Helen Kim, violin

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 7


Opera San Jose

April 18-May 2, 2020


MOZART: The Magic Flute


About Donato Cabrera

Donato Cabrera is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He 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. Cabrera is one of only a handful of conductors in history who has conducted performances with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and the San Francisco Ballet.


Since Cabrera's appointment as Music Director in 2013 of the California Symphony, the organization has redefined what it means to be an orchestra in the 21st Century. Under Cabrera’s baton, the California Symphony 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 also oversees the selection process of the California Symphony’s celebrated Young American Composer-in-Residence program, through which the orchestra has supported the burgeoning careers of composers including Mason Bates, Kevin Puts, and the current Composer-in-Residence, Katherine Balch. 


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 features the musicians of the Las Vegas Philharmonic in intimate chamber music performances. Cabrera recently led one of the premiere performances of Philip Glass’ newest piano concerto, co-commissioned by the Las Vegas Philharmonic and composed for Simone Dinnerstein. With a continued commitment to programming works by living composers, the 2019-2020 season begins and ends with works by Anna Clyne and Gabriela Lena Frank and Cabrera spotlights the Las Vegas talent pool with the creation of the Very Vegas Showcase - an evening ranging from music by the Rat Pack to songs and works written by local performers. 


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. California Symphony’s Sound Minds program has achieved national attention for its ElSistema-inspired approach and has a proven track record in impacting the lives and improving the test scores of hundreds of K-6 children in San Pablo’s Downer Elementary School.  Annually reaching over 17,000 Title I fourth graders of the Clark County School District, Cabrera has completely reshaped Las Vegas Philharmonic’s Youth Concert Series to be a curriculum-based concert experience, while also integrating a hands-on, complimentary experience with the Discovery Museum, Las Vegas. 


Also an advocate of adult education, Cabrera helped create and shape the California Symphony’s program Fresh Look: The Symphony Exposed, a weekly summer lecture series at the Walnut Creek Library that helps to explain the music and composers in an approachable, yet in depth way. During his tenure at the San Francisco Symphony Cabrera also helped create and conduct, Play Out Davies!, a project that welcomed amateur musicians of any level and of all ages, to be coached by a member of the San Francisco Symphony, and to play on the stage of Davies Symphony Hall with Cabrera conducting. 

In the 2019-2020 season, Cabrera makes his debut with Opera San Jose, leading Mozart’s The Magic Flute and returns to conduct the Reno Chamber Orchestra in a performance that includes the Western US premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’s Chamber Concerto. 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, Philharmonic Orchestra of the Staatstheater Cottbus, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río, Orquesta Sinfónica Concepción, Nevada Ballet Theatre, 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. He also led the San Francisco Symphony Chorus with organist Paul Jacobs in the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Mass Transmission, subsequently conducting it in Carnegie Hall. During his seven seasons as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Cabrera upheld the orchestra’s reputation for outstanding artistry at home and abroad. He 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.


Donato Cabrera co-founded the New York-based American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), which is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. 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, and recently led performances of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson's Drone Mass with ACME and Theatre of Voices at Duke Performances and the Big Ears Festival.


Cabrera is equally at home in the world of opera, frequently conducting productions in the United States and abroad. He was the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2008, working on over 18 productions and conducting multiple performances. Cabrera 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, he has frequently conducted productions ranging from Mozart to Puccini 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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