Donato Cabrera, who made his professional conducting debut with the RCO and is now Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, returns to Reno to guest conduct a program based on the concept of synesthesia. All three of the composers on this program — Michael Torke, Alexander Scriabin, and Jean Sibelius — associate or associated musical notes with colors! We will explore this in a program that also includes pianist Elizabeth Phillips, the winner of the RCO’s annual College Concerto Competition.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 14, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
Nightingale Concert Hall, UNR

Donato Cabrera, guest conductor
Elizabeth Phillips, piano (RCO College Concerto Competition Winner)

Torke: Ash
Scriabin: Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor, Op. 20
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 82


Pianist Alexei Nasedkin playing Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra under Evgeny Svetlanov, live in Moscow in 1988.

Donato Cabrera photo
Donato Cabrera
Donato Cabrera is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and served as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2009-2016.

Since Cabrera’s appointment as Music Director of the California Symphony, the organization has been reinvigorated. With its expanded concerts, dramatically increased ticket sales, and innovative programming, the California Symphony and Cabrera are redefining what it means to be an orchestra in the 21st Century. Under Cabrera’s leadership, The Las Vegas Philharmonic has also enjoyed a dramatic increase in ticket sales and an engagement with the community never before seen in Southern Nevada.

Over the last couple of seasons, Cabrera has made impressive debuts with the National Symphony’s KC Jukebox at the Kennedy Center, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, New West Symphony, Sinfónica de Oaxaca, and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Rio. In 2016, he led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances with Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs. Cabrera co-founded the New York-based American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and recently led performances of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass with ACME and Theatre of Voices at Duke Performances and the Big Ears Festival.

Awards and fellowships include a Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship at the Salzburg Festival and conducting the Nashville Symphony in the League of American Orchestra’s prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. Donato Cabrera was recognized by the Consulate-General of Mexico in San Francisco as a Luminary of the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee, for his contributions to promoting and developing the presence of the Mexican community in the Bay Area.

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Elizabeth Phillips photo
Elizabeth Phillips
In life, Elizabeth is loud and charismatic, yet as a pianist, she prefers obscure pieces that require curiosity, sensitivity, and a pastel touch. She began playing piano at age four, but could not receive serious training in her rural Coloradan hometown. Her debut performance in a “big city” was at the age of 14 in Farmington, New Mexico, as one of the winners of a Young Artist Competition. Shortly after her family moved to Nevada, Elizabeth began studying with Dr. James Winn and practicing with discipline. By the end of one year she was accepted into Oberlin as a National Merit Scholar, but she ultimately signed a full-ride scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno.

At the age of 20, Elizabeth graduated as a summa cum laude Honors student in both Piano Performance and Neuroscience. In her undergraduate career, she reached the semifinals of the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival, won the Reno Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, performed in multiple masterclasses, published several interdisciplinary research articles (including a 90-page senior thesis), presented at the Western Regional Honors Conference, and co-contributed to electroacoustic symposiums in Toronto and Germany. She is currently taking a year off of school to organize benefit recitals for charities, though she plans to attend UC Berkeley as a Biophysics graduate student next fall. She hopes to continue performing, volunteering, and engaging in interdisciplinary scholarship about music. Her favorite hobbies include fitness and outdoor recreation, creative writing and composing, and turning pages for other pianists.