CLEVELAND – Effective immediately, The Cleveland Orchestra has announced the promotion of Vinay Parameswaran to the position of Associate Conductor and the extension of his contracts. The agreement continues Mr. Parameswaran’s tenure with the Orchestra through the 2021-22 season. Despite the new title, he will still hold the Elizabeth Ring and William Gwinn Mather Assistant Conductor Endowed Chair. A concurrent agreement extends Mr. Parameswaran’s role as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) through the same period.
Vinay Parameswaran joined the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2017. Over the past three-and-a-half seasons as assistant conductor, he has been active in education and community performances, provided support to Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, and served as cover conductor for Severance Hall, Blossom Music Festival, and tour concerts — including during the milestone 100th Cleveland Orchestra season and 50th Anniversary season of Blossom Music Center. In 2018, Mr. Parameswaran made his subscription concert debuts at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Festival; he also conducted the Orchestra’s annual “Star-Spangled Spectacular” in July of that same year, covering for Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, who had taken ill. Most recently, in December 2020, he stepped in for guest conductor John Adams, who was unable to travel because of Covid-19 restrictions, and led a performance entitled Musical Patterns for The Cleveland Orchestra: In Focus digital concert series, which featured works by Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, J.S. Bach, and Adams, and premiered on the Adella digital app and adella.live on January 28, 2021.
“Vinay has a natural authority that comes from his knowledge of a piece, inside-out, and innate musicality,” said Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. “He is extremely easy to work with because he has made The Cleveland Orchestra’s priority his own: Music comes first. There have been many highlights during his tenure with the Orchestra, especially his performance with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in the Abbey of St. Florian in Austria. Vinay’s work ethic and discipline make him a marvelous role model for young people.”
“Vinay has served this institution so well,” said Cleveland Orchestra Chief Artistic Officer Mark Williams. “Combine his musical facility, deep work ethic, and understanding of the orchestra with his humanity and humility, and you have the ideal person for this position. During his tenure at the Orchestra, I have been privileged to observe his growth as a musician and valued member of the community. With the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, he has been particularly successful because of the high standards he brings to the students and his ability to speak to and work with them as adults.”
“Since the beginning of his tenure, Vinay has shared his passion for symphonic music in a way that has inspired young musicians to achieve artistic accomplishments beyond their expectations,” said Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra Manager Lauren Generette. “Vinay has committed himself to developing good citizens and good musicians, and has guided his young charges through symphonic masterworks while also expanding their knowledge of contemporary music that is inclusive of women and people of color.”
“I’m honored by the invitation to stay in Cleveland for another season and continue my work with both The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra,” said Mr. Parameswaran. “Franz Welser-Möst has been an extraordinary mentor, and I’m continually inspired by him. He searches for meaning in everything he conducts. Working with The Cleveland Orchestra is the embodiment of making music at the highest level. It’s a tremendous privilege every time I step on the podium in front of these amazing artists and collaborators. Coming out of this pandemic, we have an important role to bring music and optimism to our community — and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Currently in his fourth season as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Mr. Parameswaran oversees artistic planning, selects musicians for the ensemble, and leads rehearsals and performances with this talented group of middle- and high-school-aged musicians. In June 2019, he joined COYO on its third international tour, leading the ensemble during performances in Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary.
About Vinay Parameswaran
Vinay Parameswaran began his tenure as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra as well as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in the 2017-18 season, marking the Orchestra’s 100th season. Mr. Parameswaran came to Cleveland following three seasons as Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony from 2014-17, where he led more than 150 performances.
In the summer of 2017, Mr. Parameswaran was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. Across recent seasons, engagements have included his debuts with the North Carolina Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Eugene Symphony, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
Equally at home conducting opera, Mr. Parameswaran has led acclaimed productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore with Curtis Opera Theater. He also assisted on a production of Verdi’s Nabucco with Opera Philadelphia.
Mr. Parameswaran is the conductor on the album Two x Four featuring the Curtis 20/21 ensemble as well as violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh. Along with works by Bach, David Ludwig, and Philip Glass, the recording included Anna Clyne’s Prince of Clouds, which received a 2014 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. He has participated in conducting masterclasses with David Zinman at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, as well as with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Parameswaran played as a student for six years in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Political Science from Brown University, where he graduated with honors. At Brown, he began his conducting studies with Paul Phillips. He received a diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller as the Albert M. Greenfield Fellow.
About the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is a full symphonic ensemble comprised of approximately 100 young musicians drawn from 38 communities in 11 counties across Northern Ohio. Founded in 1986 by Jahja Ling (then resident conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra), The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) provides serious young music students of middle-high school age with a unique pre-professional orchestral training experience.
The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is part of a suite of Cleveland Orchestra programs designed to nurture aspiring young musicians, which also includes the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus and Preparatory Chorus, and the Crescendo and Music Mentors pathways initiatives for students in Cleveland schools. In addition, with the support of many generous individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental funding partners, the Orchestra’s full range of education and community programs reach more than 100,000 young people and adults annually, helping to foster a lifelong relationship with music by removing barriers to participation, advocating for and helping to facilitate equitable access to comprehensive music education in schools, and harnessing the life-changing power in service to the community. For more information please visit these links: Education, Community, and Learning Resources.
The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is supported by a generous grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and by gifts from many other donors across Northeast Ohio. Endowment support is provided by The George Gund Foundation and Christine Gitlin Miles. COYO touring is supported by an endowment gift from the Jules and Ruth Vinney Family. Anthony and Patricia Lauria recently endowed the Principal Viola chair of COYO. For more information, please visit clevelandorchestra.com/about/choruses-and-ensembles/youth-orchestra/.