Music Director Finalists

The next leader of the RCO

In spring of 2018, the Reno Chamber Orchestra began the search to find a new Music Director to lead the orchestra. Out of over 150 applicants from around the globe, six finalists were chosen. Each finalist will conduct one concert, allowing the musicians, audience, and community to experience their unique styles and strengths. The audience, musicians, orchestra staff, and a search committee work together to help find the best fit for the position.

We look forward to announcing our new Music Director in summer 2021.

March 30-31, 2019

Robert Franz

Robert Franz is acclaimed by critics and composers alike for his work as a conductor and music educator. Current posts include Music Director of the Windsor Symphony and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, and Artistic Advisor of the Boise Baroque Orchestra. In increasing demand as a guest conductor, Franz’s recent appearances include the Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore, St. Louis, Winston-Salem and Victoria Symphonies, and Italy’s Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina. Recognized for his expertise on music’s impact, Franz recently gave a TedX Talk titled “Active Listening and Our Perception of Time.”

As Windsor Symphony’s Music Director, Franz was recently presented by The Windsor Endowment for the Arts with its Arts Leadership Award. The WSO celebrated its 70th season last year and enjoyed its best year which included a record seven sold-out performances. Recent collaborations include the Windsor International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and the Canadian Historical Aviation Association.

As Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, Franz was honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership in recognition of his immense success in advancing the organization’s educational and community engagement activities. Franz is also Founder and Music Director of the Idaho Orchestra Institute, an intensive experience designed for college and advanced high school musicians.

Visit Robert Franz’s website:

october 19-20, 2019

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 in 2013, the organization has reached new artistic heights by implementing innovative programming that emphasizes welcoming newcomers and loyalists alike, building a reputation for championing music by living composers, and committing to programming music by women and people of color. Cabrera has also changed the Las Vegas Philharmonic concert experience by expanding the scope and breadth of its orchestral concerts, and by creating an engaging and interactive curriculum-based concert experience for the Youth Concert Series. 

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. 

Visit Donato Cabrera’s website:

November 23-24, 2019

Martin Majkut

Born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), Majkut graduated from the State Conservatory and served as Assistant Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic while earning his Ph.D. in conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts. While studying, he worked with the Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic and Slovak Sinfonietta. Majkut came to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar in 2003 and earned his second doctorate, a D.M.A at the University of Arizona.

Since 2010, Majkut has served as Music Director of the Rogue Valley Symphony in Ashland, Oregon. The Symphony is enjoying an unprecedented level of support and enthusiasm in the community. The 50th season of the orchestra earned Majkut the honor of being invited as a featured presenter at the League of American Orchestras conference. In 2017, Majkut assumed the music directorship of the Queens Symphony Orchestra in New York, which performs a variety of ethnically diverse communities.

Majkut’s ability to inspire the orchestra and deliver exciting, polished and powerful performances results in enthused audiences and many sold out concerts. He has been called “amazing, supremely gifted” and “an incomparable, unique and perhaps irreplaceable asset” by the press in Oregon.

Visit Martin Majkut’s website:

january 25-26, 2020

Nicholas Carthy

Nicholas Carthy’s work as a conductor, musical educator, and accompanist has taken him all over the world. He is Professor of Music and Opera Music Director at the University of Colorado, and visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is Musical Director of the Portland State University Summer Programme. Carthy gives master classes in opera schools and conservatories, and conducts youth orchestra seminars throughout Europe and the USA. He broadcasts regularly as conductor and pianist, and sits on the jury of several international piano and singing competitions.

Carthy studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London with Mary Peppin and John York, and studied at the Mozarteum Salzburg with Hans Leygraf. After completing his studies, Carthy became Kapellmeister at the Landestheater in Salzburg and was also an assistant at the Salzburg Festival, working closely with Bernard Haitink and Sir Georg Solti. In 1992, Nicholas Carthy was appointed Musical Director of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, and under his stewardship, the orchestra received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival, the Concertgebouw, and the Goldener Musikvereinssaal in Vienna.

Carthy’s repertoire ranges from Mozart to the contemporary, and his work includes guest conducting the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Volksopernorchester, Israel Contemporary Players, RSO Prague, Slovak Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma, among others. 

Read more about Nicholas Carthy:

March 30-31, 2019

Conner Gray Covington

Conner Gray Covington is currently Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony, conducting classical, education, film, pops, and family concerts. Prior to his tenure in Utah, Covington was the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music while also being mentored by Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He attended the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship student in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, studied at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, and attended the Salzburg Festival as a recipient of the Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. Covington has a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, and a degree in violin performance.

Covington began his career as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. A two-time recipient (2017 and 2014) of a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., he worked with the Nashville Symphony as a featured conductor in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview presented by the League of American Orchestras.

Covington has guest conducted symphonies including St. Louis, Utah, Virginia, Monterey (CA), Kansas City, and Portland (Maine) Symphonies, and the Oregon Mozart Players. He has also had two appearances with the NOVA Chamber Music Series. He served as a cover conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony, among others.

Visit Connor Gray Covington’s website:

May 29-30, 2021

Kelly Kuo

Oregon native Kelly Kuo brings a dynamic versatility and nuance to a diverse repertoire, which includes over 80 operas and an expansive symphonic repertoire as well. Kuo holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and received the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistant Award for young conductors.

As Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players, Kuo “transformed this chamber group into…a band of professional, enthusiastic and superior musicians, playing confidently as one unit” (The Register Guard). Recent symphonic engagements include concerts with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ballet Fantastique. Kuo also curated and conducted the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s inaugural Summermusik festival as Interim Music Director. Recent operatic engagements have included productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Madison Opera, Tulsa Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera Pacific, and Lyric Opera San Diego. Kuo also led performances of Porgy and Bess on New York Harlem Production’s tour in Hamburg, Munich, and Las Palmas.

Kuo continues to concertize as a keyboardist, and is the only living pianist to have studied with two pupils of the Russian virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz. Kuo has collaborated with such soloists as Cho-Liang Lin, Mark Kosower, DaXun Zhang, David Shifrin, Mary Dunleavy, Bion Tsang, Anton Nel, Bella Hristova, Inbal Segev, Elizabeth Rowe, and Stephen Beus. Kuo has also conducted the world premieres of chamber orchestrations for Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, Daniel Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini, as well as the premiere of Daron Hagen’s “A Woman in Morocco.”

Visit Kelly Kuo’s website:

Music director and 2021-22 Season dates to be announced summer 2021.