Jonathon Heyward is forging a career as one of the most exciting young conductors on the international scene. Winner of the 2015 Besançon International Conducting Competition, Jonathon was selected as a Los Angeles Philharmonic Dudamel Conducting Fellow for the 2017-2018 season, later making his subscription debut with Hilary Hahn as part of the orchestra’s Bernstein @ 100 Celebration at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The LA Times declared that he had “forged a seamless connection among the music, the orchestra, and the audience” and that his “concert augurs great things to come”.
Named Chief Conductor Designate of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in 2019, a position that commences in January 2021, Jonathon recently completed three years as Assistant Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, conducting his first subscription concert, with Benjamin Grosvenor, in 2018. Other notable moments with the ensemble include: a 200th birthday concert for the orchestra’s founder, Sir Charles Hallé, with a programme of Hallé’s own Souvenir and Scherzo, Beethoven’s Leonora No. 3 Overture, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 (with Heejae Kim) and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5; a finalist nomination for Young Creative of the Year at the Manchester Culture Awards 2018, in recognition of his extensive community outreach work and commitment to music education as Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra; and a “roaringly bold account” (Bachtrack) of Shostakovich’s thrilling Leningrad Symphony, marking Jonathon’s debut at the Manchester International Festival and culmination of his tenure in Manchester.Read more
Hailed by Sir Mark Elder as “a bright rising star of the conducting world”, Jonathon’s recent and forthcoming engagements include debuts with the Seattle Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Oregon Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Brussels Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Hallé, Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Osaka Symphony, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Flanders Symphony, South Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Het Gelders Orkest. Other highlights include concerts with the St Petersburg Symphony, Basel Symphony, Prague Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, a production of Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s new opera, Wake, with the Birmingham Opera Company.
Originally trained as a cellist and chamber musician, Jonathon commenced his conducting studies at the Boston Conservatory with Andrew Altenbach. He went on to take up the position of Assistant Conductor for both their opera department and the Boston Opera Collaborative, where he worked on such productions as La bohème, The Magic Flute, and The Rape of Lucretia. In 2013, Jonathon became the youngest ever semi-finalist at the Blue Danube International Opera Conducting Competition at the age of 21, and, soon after, was appointed Associate Director of the Hampstead Garden Opera Company in London. In 2016, he completed his postgraduate studies in conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2020, was a recipient of The Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award.
“Heyward forged a seamless connection among the music, the orchestra and the audience.
“[Heyward] knew when to lead and when to follow, effortlessly balancing his roles as a natural showman and sensitive collaborator in service to the music.”
“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.”
“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”
“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.”