Jonathon Heyward


Music Director Designate, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Music Director from 23/24)
Chief Conductor, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie


Jonathon Heyward is forging a career as one of the most exciting conductors on the international scene. He currently serves as Music Director Designate of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and will begin his five-year contract in the 2023-24 season. Jonathon’s selection was unanimous from the Baltimore Symphony Music Director Search Committee, comprised of BSO musicians, staff, and community members. In March 2022, Jonathon made his debut with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in three performances that included the first-ever performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15. Quickly re-engaged, he returned in April to lead a Benefit Concert for Ukraine at the Meyerhoff.

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“Maestro Jonathon Heyward shows an inspired control of dynamics. Yes, he’s working with a stage packed with musicians, but he draws from them such unbelievably immense power! That peasant cart becomes a huge juggernaut, rumbling along like an earthquake. Surely only Paul Bunyan’s blue ox Babe could pull such a behemoth! The hut on hen’s feet of that witch, the Baba Yaga, is weird and deliciously frightening. Jonathon Heyward is young, lithe and slender, graceful and precise—and throughout the evening he displayed a genius that will illuminate concert halls for decades to come.”

Steve Callahan

KDHX, October 2022

“… Jonathon Heyward makes Lincoln Center debut with ‘rock-star’ performance …. [it] wasn’t just triumphant. It was thrilling. Heyward gave the nearly 1,000 people attending each night’s concert a high-speed, jolting, heart-pounding roller coaster ride … The audiences in New York couldn’t seem to get enough … And though the concerts took place on weeknights, the audience called the conductor back for three standing ovations. There likely would have been a fourth, except that the crew turned on the house lights.”

Mary Carole McCauley

Baltimore Sun, August 2022

“… conductor Heyward is fascinating to watch. Without a baton, he sometimes signaled the orchestra in balletic gestures, sweeping his hands across long arcs or shaping phrases in circular motions, like a potter at the wheel. Elsewhere it looked as if he were holding invisible teacups in each hand, swinging them to keep the beat. It all worked … Heyward proved himself a sophisticated interpreter … He kept every detail in place, manicured and neatly articulated … Musically polished and compelling …”

Pierre Ruhe

ATL Arts, March 2022

“… young US conductor Jonathon Heyward stepped in at short notice and did a marvellously incisive job, all clipped rhythms and bristling precision, drawing vivid playing from the SCO musicians.”

David Kettle

The Scotsman, December 2021

More Reviews

“Most interesting of all … was conductor Jonathon Heyward, making his SCO debut. His podium gestures are curt but clear, and he is very engaging to watch. More importantly, his line of musical argument was never less than convincing, often much more than that … The orchestra responded to him really well, pivoting on a knife edge with some of Mahler’s emotional contrasts, and suggesting that this is a relationship that might go somewhere. It has clearly got off to a good beginning. I would like to hear them together again.”

Seen and Heard International, December 2021

“… [Heyward] has a very solid technique and ability to study and assimilate that allow him to mark and anticipate everything and everyone with total security … excellent … appreciated by all …”, December 2021

“… fearless … exuberant, exhilarating stuff … an unforgettable showcase …”

The Guardian, August 2021

“Throughout the entire performance Jonathon Heywood conducted himself with notable discipline, switching from tiny hand movements to large expression of his upper body like it was second nature to him” 

Voice Mag, July 2019

“Heyward demonstrated a level of confidence and musical intelligence that belied his youth … At the same time, Heyward tirelessly shaped the sound, encouraging subtle refinements and using expressive gestures to blend and adjust the mix. He understood that Holst’s dazzling score isn’t just about the brassy climaxes — wonderfully prepared for here — but also homed in on its varieties of mystery and awe … A wealth of meaning without artifice, as spoken by a truly gifted artist.”

Memeteria, June 2019

“On the podium, Jonathon Heyward, assistant conductor at the Hallé, made his own mark. He drew poised playing from the Chineke! musicians, first in Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and then in Mozart’s Symphony No 29 in A, the irrepressible bounce of its finale’s dotted rhythms every bit as spirited as the composer intended.”

The Guardian, April 2017

“Heyward forged a seamless connection among the music, the orchestra and the audience … [he] knew when to lead and when to follow, effortlessly balancing his roles as a natural showman and sensitive collaborator in service to the music.”

Los Angeles Times, December 2017

Featured News

Congratulations to our 2023 Royal Academy of Music Honourees!

The Royal Academy of Music (London) has announced its 2023 Honours, which celebrate leading artists who continue to shape the musical landscape. Conductor Jakub Hrůša and violinist Hilary Hahn are awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music, and...

Jonathon Heyward Makes His New York Philharmonic Debut

This week, Jonathon Heyward makes his New York Philharmonic debut conducting a trio of concerts at the David Geffen Hall from the 27-29 April. Heyward leads the Orchestra in Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, a virtuosic showcase for the whole ensemble. The...