Music Director and Conductor
ABOUT OUR MUSIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR
Donald Palma has an active career as conductor, performer and educator.
From 2004 to 2008 he was Director of Orchestras at the New England Conservatory and continues at that institution as Director of the NEC Chamber Orchestra. With the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Don received the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming twice during his tenure as Music Director. He has made three critically acclaimed recordings of American music with the Odense Symphony in Denmark, featuring works of Elliott Carter, Stephen Jaffe and Peter Lieberson. The Lieberson CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2006.
A founding member of the world famous Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Don has toured the globe and recorded over 50 CDs for Deutsche Grammophon including the Grammy award winning “Shadow Dances” featuring works of Igor Stravinsky. He has appeared at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, conducting a staged and televised production of Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat” and was part of the George Crumb 70th birthday celebration conducting “Ancient Voices of Children” at Lincoln Center.
A dedicated educator, Don has conducted at the Toho School in Tokyo, the Juilliard School, the Connecticut All-State Orchestra, and SUNY Purchase, and has been a guest lecturer at UCSD, San Diego. He is also on the faculty of the Yale School of Music and has given master classes all over the globe.
A native of New York City, Don was educated at the Juilliard School and joined Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19. At 22 he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic but soon returned to NYC to rejoin the recently formed Orpheus and Speculum Musicae, which then won the coveted Naumburg Award. He was principal bass of the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Trevor Pinnock and played principal bass for Leonard Bernstein for his recording of West Side Story. Don also joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for their recording of the complete Wagner Ring Cycle under James Levine and was a featured artist on Kathleen Battle’s CD “Grace”.
Don has performed with the Emerson, the Juilliard and the Borromeo Quartets, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, Da Camera Chamber Music Society and has appeared in recitals with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Jan De Gaetani. During the 2009-10 season, he conducted concerts in New York and Boston celebrating the 100th birthday of Elliott Carter, toured Europe with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and recorded with pop icon, Sting, in New York City.
In 2011-2012, Don performed with the New York Philharmonic at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Brazilian star, Ivan Lins, in Carnegie Hall and Central Park with Orpheus, and took part in a very special birthday concert for Elliott Carter on his 103rd birthday at the 92nd Street Y in New York. He also took part in the New England Conservatory’s Mahler Unleashed Festival, presenting three programs with his NEC Chamber Orchestra.
Don maintains a busy schedule of conducting, performing and teaching throughout the northeast and worldwide. He resides in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife, Maira, and fourteen year old son, Miles.