Jose Luis Dominguez Named Artistic Director Of NJSO Youth Orchestras

Jose Luis Dominguez Named Artistic Director Of NJSO Youth Orchestras

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has named José Luis Domínguez Artistic Director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, signing him to a two-year contract that extends through the 2020 fiscal year a relationship that began in September 2017 when Domínguez was named Interim Artistic Director of the youth orchestras. This season, he has worked closely with NJSO Youth Orchestras artistic faculty and conducted two of its four ensembles, the Academy Orchestra and Training Ensemble.

Domínguez says: "This year with the NJSO Youth Orchestras has been a very interesting and very happy experience for me. I felt the privilege of being part of such an incredible group of professional musicians and teaching artists. The spirit of the students and the parents is unquestionable. It shows passion, and I want to take it a few steps further. If I can make Saturday the best day of their week, I'll feel like I did my job."

NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang says: "The students have had so much fun and learned so much working with José Luis this season. José Luis embodies all the qualities we want in a Youth Orchestras leader, and we are so excited that he will continue to lead the program."

NJSO Education Committee member Michelle Merchant says: "As the parent of two children participating in the NJSO Youth Orchestras, I am delighted that José Luis Domínguez has been selected as the Artistic Director. To this role, he brings an unrivaled enthusiasm, a dedication to music education and a unique cultural appreciation to which the students respond so well. As a leader and role model, he will have a profoundly positive impact on the program and the community for seasons to come. I am excited about how the NJSO Youth Orchestras and the students will grow under his energizing and inspiring guidance and leadership."

Domínguez will conduct the NJSO's free summer parks concert series in June and July. He led the NJSO's #OrchestraYou pro-am post-concert session in April and conducted the Orchestra's May family concerts at NJPAC in Newark.

The Chilean-born conductor was previously Resident Conductor of the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra. He annually directs programs with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Chile, with whom he served as Principal Conductor before assuming his current roles as Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Senior Advisor. He has led the youth orchestra on tour internationally and conducted its operatic debut, a performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale that was regarded as a major breakthrough for the Chilean and Latin American system of youth orchestras.

A major gift made by longtime supporter Anna P. Drago recently recognized the significance of this position at the NJSO. The gift names the NJSO Youth Orchestras Artistic Director Chair in her honor.

Learn more about the NJSO Youth Orchestras at


One of Chile's most prominent orchestral conductors, NJSO Youth Orchestras Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez began his career at age 21. From 2003-16, the La Serena native was Resident Director of the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra, one of Latin America's most important orchestras.

He annually directs programs with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Chile, with whom he served as Principal Conductor before assuming his current roles as Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Senior Advisor. He has led the youth orchestra on tour internationally and conducted its operatic debut, a performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale that was regarded as a major breakthrough for the Chilean and Latin American system of youth orchestras. He led the premiere of Sebastián Errázuriz's Bitácora de un Sueño to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Foundation for Youth Orchestras of Chile.

He regularly guest conducts the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia. At the invitation of the Ministry of Culture, he led Mozart's Requiem in memory of Nobel Prize Laureate of Literature Gabriel Garcia Márquez in a live televised broadcast from the Cathedral of Bogotá for an audience including the President of Colombia, dignitaries and the highest cultural authorities of the region.

Conducting highlights have included a production of Carmina Burana with prestigious Spanish company Fura Dels Baus, New Year's performances with the Staatsoperorchester de Braunschweig in Germany and performances with the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at Teatro Colón, with Renée Fleming in Chile and at the Summer International Music Festival in Frutillar. He has led operatic performances at the Opéra Théâtre Saint-Étienne in France and garnered praise for his performances of Verdi's Rigoletto and Massenet's Thaïs at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago. In 2016, he garnered the Circle of Critics Award for his performances with the Symphony Orchestra of Chile.

The Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra premiered his debut ballet as a composer, The Legend of Joaquin Murieta, at the Teatro Municipal in November 2009; the acclaimed work will be released on an upcoming Naxos recording. His Requiem oratorio dedicated to Fernando Rosas, creator and founder of the Foundation for Youth Orchestras of Chile, received premieres by the National Youth Orchestra of Chile and Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra.


Part of the NJSO Academy

The NJSO Youth Orchestras give qualified middle- and high-school students-especially African-American and Latino youth in the Greater Newark area-unparalleled opportunities to achieve personal and musical excellence. Coaching by NJSO musicians and a supportive peer-to-peer environment provide quality learning and performing experiences and build a unique culture of collaboration. The achievements of this program and its impact on the lives of these young musicians have received national recognition from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Four distinct ensembles-the Academy Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, String Ensemble and Training Ensemble-perform two full concerts each year and participate in masterclasses and workshops with renowned guest artists. In addition, the Training Ensemble offers joint instructional and performance opportunities with its sister program, the NJPAC Symphonic Band. Through this partnership (known as Music Advancement for Newark-area Youth, or MANY), the two organizations lay the foundation for students' membership in their more advanced ensembles.

The NJSO Youth Orchestras annually serve more than 200 students from 11 counties across northern and central New Jersey.

Students who play orchestral instruments can apply for membership in the NJSO Youth Orchestras. For more information, visit


A partnership designed to provide students in the Newark area with high-quality instrumental music instruction

Initiated by two of New Jersey's premier performing arts organizations-New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO)-MANY offers programs for beginning and experienced instrumental music students alike.

Participants study string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments to develop musical and instrumental proficiency while building leadership skills. MANY also aims to prepare young instrumentalists for acceptance into performance-based educational programs within the community, including the Arts High School Orchestra and Concert Band, Newark School of the Arts, NJPAC Brick City Jazz Orchestra, Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program and NJSO Youth Orchestras.

Annually serving more than 100 students, MANY bridges two programs: the NJPAC Symphonic Band and the NJSO Training Ensemble. The NJPAC Symphonic Band, for grades 5-8, is designed for students with little or no prior instrumental experience and provides a musical foundation in woodwinds, brass and percussion. The NJSO Training Ensemble, for grades 5-10, provides intensive musical instruction and leadership development to advanced beginner and intermediate string students.

Lawrence Liggins directs the NJPAC Symphonic Band; José Luis Domínguez directs the NJSO Training Ensemble.


Through the education programs that comprise the NJSO Academy, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra provides intensive coaching and instruction for musicians of all ages. The lauded youth orchestra program, El Sistema-modeled NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project), NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, NJSO Coach-in-Residence Program and customized in-school clinics and master classes create participatory learning environments across the state that foster meaningful connections with live music.


Named "a vital, artistically significant musical organization" by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra's superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang-a "dynamic podium presence" The New York Times has praised for her "technical abilities, musicianship and maturity"-continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra's statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People; NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, currently led by José Luis Domínguez; and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project). NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners Program.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra's website.

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