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Jonathon Heyward Named New Music Director of Lincoln Center’s Summer Orchestra

Heyward will lead the soon to be renamed Mostly Mozart Festival orchestra, succeeding Louis Langrée


The new Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director role of the Lincoln Center's Summer Orchestra was created as part of the Lincoln Center's new summer festival, which aims to bring a wider range of events to a broader segment of the city.

Conductor Jonathan Heyward will serve in the role for a three-year term beginning in the summer of 2024. Heyward’s responsibilities will include programming the repertoire for Lincoln Center’s summer orchestra, working with Chief Artistic Officer Shanta Thake to bring in guest conductors and soloists, and further integrating the orchestra series into the larger Summer for the City festival.

Heyward made his Lincoln Center debut in August 2022, conducting the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra during the inaugural Summer for the City festival. He more recently made his New York Philharmonic debut in April 2023.

As the first black conductor to be named Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he will step into that position at the beginning of the 2023/24 season.


The launch of Summer for the City in 2022 brought all of Lincoln Center’s disparate summer festivals under one banner and incorporated a Choose-What-You-Pay ticketing model to expand its audiences.

Starting in 2024, aligning with Heyward’s first summer, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra will be adopting a new name that illustrates the orchestra’s integration within the broader summer festival.

The new artistic vision and name for Lincoln Center’s summer orchestra starting in 2024 will be developed in close partnership between Heyward and Thake.

"What an honor it is to be chosen to lead Lincoln Center's summer orchestra," Heyward said. "This orchestra has an incredible legacy, and Louis Langrée's leadership is an inspiration as I embark on this new chapter of artistic growth with the ensemble."

"There was an unmistakable energy with me and the musicians when we first performed together last summer," he added. "It's exciting to begin thinking through the ways we can serve New Yorkers and explore ways to deepen and enhance the orchestral experience for new and existing audiences. I look forward to collaborating with Shanta and these unparalleled musicians as we usher in a new era together."

"This upcoming summer will be a bittersweet one," said Louis Langrée. "Since my Mostly Mozart Festival debut in 1998, and coming in as Music Director in 2003, we have shared so many beautiful, powerful, and meaningful experiences together at Lincoln Center."

"Over the years, the orchestra musicians and I have developed a unique bond that I will treasure forever. I am honored to have served for 21 years at an extraordinary Festival that has broadened access to music for all New Yorkers for six decades.

"I wish Jonathon as many joys as those I experienced during this extraordinary journey. His leadership, musicianship, and connection with these wonderful musicians will be a thrill for New York audiences. Good luck, Jonathon!"

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