Introducing Jonathon Heyward


Jonathon Heyward

Forging a career as one of the most exciting conductors on the international scene

PAST: From a cello bow to a baton.

Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Jonathon began his musical training as a cellist at the age of ten and started conducting while still at school. In a serendipitous intervention, Jonathon was selected by a substitute teacher to take the podium and lead the school orchestra during a rehearsal. It was evident that the young musician had a bright future as a conductor.

He studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he became assistant conductor of the prestigious institution’s opera department and of the Boston Opera Collaborative. Before leaving the Academy, he was appointed assistant conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, where he was mentored by Sir Mark Elder, and became Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra.

Jonathon’s commitment to education and community engagement work deepened during his time with the Hallé and has flourished since his appointment as Chief Conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in January 2021. In March 2022, Jonathon made his debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra which included the BSO’s first-ever performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15

PRESENT: Leading with a fresh perspective.

With an initial five-year contract with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jonathon serves as Music Director, the holder of the Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Chair. His selection was unanimous by the Baltimore Symphony Music Director Search Committee, comprised of BSO musicians, board members, staff, and community representatives.

Coined as “One to Watch” as a part of the Bloomberg 50 list, Jonathon’s first season demonstrates his passion for connecting various art forms to audiences new and old. Armed with a deep appreciation of the classical genre, he is already off to a rousing start by curating and creating new series that usher in greater accessibility to classical music across the state of Maryland.


“Classical music is one of the greatest art forms in the world… and it’s for everybody. Anyone can be enamored by this music.”
- Jonathon Heyward

FUTURE: Creating community through music.

Understanding that a deep appreciation of symphonic music is rooted in education, Jonathon looks to create more opportunities where music enthusiasts can learn and connect with one another. By making concerts a catalyst for gathering and conversation, the music becomes more approachable for curious concertgoers and more thought-provoking for longtime aficionados.

From continuing the work of OrchKids to Casual Conversations or remarks from the podium, Jonathon strives to bring more audiences to appreciate the magnificent caliber of artistry that is classical music. He is equally committed to including new music within his imaginative concert programs. By presenting the brilliant works of living composers in forthcoming seasons, Jonathon will reiterate classical music’s long-standing and ongoing impact. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is entering a new era and a new musical journey.


While preparing for a concert, Jonathon realized his performance attire was missing the shoes he’d intended to wear while conducting. Taking the phrase ‘the show must go on’ quite literally, Jonathon decided to wear his casual sneakers on stage, earning him the moniker “The Converse Conductor.

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