Music Director


Alasdair Neale

Alasdair Neale is Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and Marin Symphony and is the newly appointed Music Director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. In his 25 years as Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Mr. Neale has propelled this festival to national status: It is now the largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America. Among the many celebrated guest artists that Mr. Neale has brought to this festival are: Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Midori, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

As Music Director of the Marin Symphony since 2001, Mr. Neale has been hailed for invigorating the orchestra and establishing it as one of the finest in the Bay Area. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Marin Symphony was chosen as one of several distinguished orchestras to participate in Magnum Opus, a groundbreaking, decade-long commissioning project bringing new music to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Osvaldo Golijov, Kevin Puts, Kenji Bunch, David Carlson, and Avner Dorman were among the composers represented in the project.

Mr. Neale’s appointment with the Marin Symphony followed 12 years as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time, he conducted both orchestras in hundreds of critically acclaimed concerts both here and abroad. In 1999, he substituted for an ailing Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting the San Francisco Symphony in widely praised performances of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in Germany. Under Mr. Neale’s direction, the Youth Orchestra became one of the finest young ensembles in the world, receiving consistent rave reviews for performances in San Francisco, as well as on tour in Amsterdam, Leipzig, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Copenhagen, and Vienna.

Highlights of Mr. Neale’s 2017-2018 season included return engagements with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Silicon Valley and his operatic debut with Opera Idaho conducting André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Neale served as Principal Guest Conductor of the New World Symphony. From 2001 to 2014, he served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has guest-conducted numerous orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Auckland Philharmonia, St. Gallen Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Hannover, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, among others.

In 1994, Mr. Neale conducted the San Francisco Symphony in the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Colored Field, featuring English horn player Julie Ann Giacobassi. Following, Mr. Neale, Ms. Giacobassi, and the San Francisco Symphony recorded Colored Field for Argo/Decca, which was released in 1996 and was honored with the Diapason d’Or award. He can also be heard on New World Records conducting the ensemble Solisti New York in a recording of new flute concertos; on Harmonia Mundi label’s 2011 Bay Brass recording, Sound the Bells! which was a Grammy nominee for Best Small Ensemble Performance; and on a number of recordings with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Alasdair Neale holds a bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a master’s from Yale University, where his principal teacher was Otto-Werner Mueller. He lives in San Francisco.