San Diego Youth Symphony names Sameer Patel as its new Artistic Director

An accomplished conductor and music educator, he will oversee artistic direction of multiple SDYS programs serving 3,000+ students each year.

Patel, 39, has spent the last 5 years as Associate Conductor of the Sun Valley Music Festival, the largest privately-funded, free-admission symphony in the United States. During his tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony from 2015 to 2019, he conducted classical, education, community, and donor programs throughout each season. Recent conducting engagements have included the Grand Rapids Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and the Florida Orchestra, as well as return engagements with Knoxville Symphony and La Jolla Symphony. He recently completed a cycle as guest conductor for SDYS’ Ovation pre-professional level orchestras, an engagement he accepted prior to the organizaon’s search process.

A proud product of public school music education, Patel has made his work with music students a priority throughout his career, serving as an Honors and All-State conductor, guest clinician, speaker, supportive audience member, and as Artistic Director of a competitive summer music program.

“I was drawn to this position not only for the way SDYS demonstrates its mission through artistic excellence but also for its all-encompassing approach to making our community stronger through the arts,” said Patel.

“I’m thrilled to serve as SDYS’ next Artistic Director. It’s an honor and a joyous responsibility to lead these young musicians on their artistic and educational journeys. I enter this collaboraon with profound gratitude and the greatest optimism, and I look forward to helping shape a vibrant future for this organization, our community, and beyond.”

In addition to conducting SDYS’ most experienced students, Patel will join the team that sets artistic and pedagogical goals and standards for students at multiple youth orchestra experience levels, in SDYS’ community partnership programs, and in its popular early childhood music education program, ChIMES.

“We’re thrilled that Sameer has chosen to join SDYS at such a pivotal time, as we expand our commitment to providing comprehensive, cradle-to-college music education opportunities for young people,” shared Dr. Michael Remson, SDYS’ President & CEO, from the organization’s administrative headquarters in the Arts District at Liberty Station.

“We conducted a year-long, nationwide search to find not only a highly experienced and talented conductor but also a strong advocate for youth music education. Sameer’s love of music infuses everything he does and his empathetic and authentic podium style has had a significant impact on the Ovation-level students he has worked with over the last few months while serving as a guest conductor.”

A resident of San Diego and graduate of the University of Michigan, Patel holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting and a Bachelor of Music in Orchestra and Opera Conducting/Theory. Following university, he furthered his training across Europe with residencies with some of the greatest conductors of our me, including Gianandrea Noseda, Daniele Gatti, David Zinman, Paavo Järvi, and the late conductors Kurt Masur and Bernard Haink. Additionally, Sameer has assisted and learned from leading conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Edo de Waart, Robert Spano, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Stéphane Denève, and Jaap van Zweden, among many others.

“Not only is Sameer an impeccable musician, but, more importantly, he’s a beauful human being with a heart of gold and a joyful passion for sharing music with others,” shared Todd Schultz, President & CEO of La Jolla Music Society. “I cannot imagine anyone more suited for this position.”

It is this experience that Patel hopes to bring to the young musicians at the Youth Symphony, building on SDYS’ commitment to enriching lives through music. “I have always been motivated by my experiences with students and see myself first and foremost as an educator,” Patel said.

“Whether in rural Indiana, downtown Detroit, or at a nucleo in Venezuela, I have always endeavored to be a champion for music education by sharing my time, resources, high standards, and, most importantly, my love of music and my belief in its power to transform lives.”

Patel officially starts his first season with SDYS on August 22, 2022. Registration and auditions for the 2022-23 season are open through June 8, 2022.


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