Youth Symphony Orchestra Conductors

Maestro Jindong Cai

Jindong Cai joined the Stanford University faculty in 2004 as the first holder of the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies’ Chair and Associate Professor of Music in Performance. He is Music Director and Conductor of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, the Stanford Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Stanford New Ensemble. He is also the Artistic Director of the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival, which he founded in 2005. Before coming to Stanford, Professor Cai served on the faculties at the Louisiana State University, the University of Arizona, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and the University of California at Berkeley. He held assistant conducting positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, working closely with conductors Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, and Keith Lockhart.

Professor Cai has received much critical acclaim for his orchestral and opera performances. In 1992, his operatic conducting debut took place at Lincoln Center’s Mozart Bicentennial Festival in New York, when he appeared as a last minute substitute for the world premiere of a new production of Mozart’s Zaide. The New York Times described the performance as “one of the more compelling theatrical experiences so far offered in the festival.” In 2007, Professor Cai won the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. It is the third time he has won the award.

Born in Beijing, Mr. Cai received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play the violin and the piano. He came to the United States for his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 1989, he was selected to study with famed conductor Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center, and won the Conducting Fellowship Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1992.

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