Jonathon Heyward Conducts the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for the First Time Since his Historic Appointment


Heyward takes the Strathmore and Meyerhoff stages May 4-7 & May 19-21

(April 13, 2023) – Today, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is excited to announce Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, conducted by Music Director Designate, Jonathon Heyward. Taking place at The Music Center at Strathmore (Strathmore) on Thursday, May 4, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Meyerhoff) on Saturday, May 6, and Sunday May 7, this will make the first time Heyward leads the full Orchestra since his historic appointment in July 2022. He will join the BSO fresh off of his debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Jonathon makes history as the 13th Music Director in the BSO’s 108-year history. He is also the youngest and first American born of mixed heritage to hold the title. His initial five-year tenure will begin in the BSO’s recently announced 2023-24 season.

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov joins Heyward and the world-class Orchestra as they continue the celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday. The wondrous Abduraimov plays the heroic chords that launch the spine-tingling ride of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Jonathon Heyward leads the program with Romanticism in Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, a reflective look back from an unabashedly nostalgic composer.

Jonathon Heyward, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano

HIGDON blue cathedral
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1
RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances

“Finally being able to share music with the wonderful Maryland public and our brilliant musicians truly feels like a homecoming,” said Jonathon Heyward. “I am looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces in both the Meyerhoff and Strathmore as we begin this new artistic endeavor, together!”

Concert goers will also have the opportunity to experience Jonathon on the podium as he leads the Orchestra in a captivating performance of The Pathetique Symphony, alongside double-bass soloist, Xavier Foley. This special performance takes place May 19 and 21 at the Meyerhoff and May 20 at Strathmore.

The program also features the British composer Grace-Evangeline Mason who takes us on an ethereal adventure, and original works by the American virtuoso Xavier Foley as he uses every measure of his creativity and charisma to make the overlooked double bass a conduit for joy and justice. Tchaikovsky’s passionate Symphony No. 6 closes the program.

Jonathon Heyward, conductor
Xavier Foley, double bass

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

The arrival of a new Music Director is one of the most exciting times in an orchestra’s history and under the artistic leadership of Jonathon Heyward comes bold programming that embraces excellence and diversity. Learn more about Jonathon and his inaugural season at

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. The orchestra is internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings, and educational outreach initiatives including OrchKids.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs annually for more than 275,000 people throughout the State of Maryland. Since 1982, the BSO has performed at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, and since 2005, with the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, the BSO became the nation’s first orchestra performing its full season of classical and pops concerts in two metropolitan areas.

In July 2022, the BSO once again made musical history with its announcement that Jonathon Heyward would succeed Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder Marin Alsop as the Orchestra’s next Music Director. Maestro Heyward begins his five-year contract in the 2023-24 season.

More information about the BSO can be found at

About Jonathon Heyward

Originally trained as a cellist and chamber musician and formerly a student of the Charleston, South Carolina Public School System, he first came to an affinity for classical music at the age of 10. As his career progressed, Heyward went on to assume the position of Assistant Conductor at both the Boston Conservatory opera department and the Boston Opera Collaborative, where he worked on such productions as La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, and The Rape of Lucretia. In 2013, Heyward 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. Winner of the 2015 Besançon International Conducting Competition, in 2016, he completed his postgraduate studies in conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music. In the 2017-18 season, Heyward was selected as a Los Angeles Philharmonic Dudamel Conducting Fellow, later stepping in to make his subscription debut with Hilary Hahn as part of the orchestra’s Bernstein @ 100 Celebration at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

At the end of the 2018-19 season, Heyward completed three years as Assistant Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra under the mentorship of Sir Mark Elder. Currently, Chief Conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, in the summer of 2021, Heyward took part in an intense, two-week residency with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain which led to a highly acclaimed BBC Proms debut.