Artistic Leadership 

David Lockington, Music Director

David Lockington, conductorOver the past thirty-five years, David Lockington has developed an impressive conducting career in the United States. A native of Great Britain, he has served as the Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra since January 1999 and has held the same position with the Modesto Symphony since May 2007. In March 2013, Mr. Lockington was appointed Music Director of the Pasadena Symphony. He also has a close relationship with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain and is currently the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor.

In addition to his current posts, since his arrival to the United States in 1978 Mr. Lockington has also held additional positions with American orchestras, including serving as Assistant Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and Opera Colorado and Assistant and Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In May 1993 he accepted the position of Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, assumed the title of Music Director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in September 1995 and was Music Director of the Long Island Philharmonic for the 96/97 through 99/2000 seasons.

Mr. Lockington's guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Saint Louis, Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Oregon and Phoenix symphonies; the Buffalo, Rochester and Louisiana Philharmonics; and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall. Internationally, he has conducted the Northern Sinfonia in Great Britain, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in Beijing and Taiwan and led the English Chamber Orchestra on a tour in Asia.

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include appearances with the New Jersey, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Utah, Pacific, Colorado, Nashville, San Diego, Syracuse, Edmonton, Alabama, Columbus and Kansas City symphonies, the Louisville Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Calgary Philharmonic. Mr. Lockington's summer festival activities include appearances at the Grand Teton, Colorado Music, Interlochen, Chautauqua and Eastern Music festivals.

David Lockington began his career as a cellist and was the Principal with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two years. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cambridge, Mr. Lockington came to the United States on a scholarship to Yale University where he received his Master's degree in cello performance and studied conducting with Otto Werner Mueller. He was a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and served as assistant principal cellist for three years with the Denver Symphony Orchestra before turning to conducting.


Ryan Murray, Associate Conductor & Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra Music Director

Ryan Murray, Associate Conductor & MSYO Music Director

Ryan James Murray is a highly regarded conductor in steady demand as both a performer and educator throughout California. Ryan was recently named Associate Conductor for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Music Director for the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as being named Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony; with which he will make his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Ryan has also been named Music in the Mountains Resident Conductor, and has held the position of Choral Director of the Music in the Mountains Festival Chorale since 2008. Widely praised for his skill on the podium, Ryan’s dynamic conducting, affable personality and deeply-held passion for the arts has allowed him to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike. 

Ryan also holds the position of Music Director of Townsend Opera in Modesto, California. Since 2008, Ryan has led the company in many critically acclaimed productions, including highly lauded performances of Carmen and La Traviata.  Ryan also previously served as the Assistant Conductor and Director of Vocal Activities for the Vocal and Instrumental Teaching Academy (VITA), as well as serving as a Faculty Conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), and the Opera Academy of California Summer Program.  

In 2013, Ryan was selected as an alternate winner for the prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival. In addition, Ryan was selected to participate in the University of Oregon Conducting Workshop with Master Teacher Neil Varon of the Eastman School of Music, as well as the 2013 Waterville Valley Music Center Conducting Masterclass with Maestro Kenneth Kiesler in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.


Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. , Chorus Director

Dr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. - Chorus DirectorDr. Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. has served as conductor of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus since its foundation in 2001 and has prepared several choral works with the ensemble. He is also Director of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus.

Dr. Afonso received a B.M.E. degree from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI -Rio),a M.M. degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a D.M.A. degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, the U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música and Doane College, Nebraska. In 1988, he won the first prize and a special award for the best performance of Villa-Lobos work at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has premiered several choral works in the last few years, including Michael Mitchell’s I Will Praise the Name of God with a Song (1997), Deborah Kavasch’s Amor (2001) and Feather on God’s Breath (2003), John Marvin’s Ophélie (2003), John Hillebrandt’s A Clear Midnight (2004), and several of his own compositions.

He is also a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce Music, and Alliance Music Publications. He has been recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire. Dr. Afonso remains active as a voice instructor, clinician, and guest conductor. His professional affiliations include the Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association.









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