Alumnus Jonathon Heyward wins International Competition

October 19, 2015

On September 20, 2015, Boston Conservatory alumnus Jonathon Heyward (B.M. '14, cello) was announced as the First Prize winner of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors at the Besançon Music Festival in Northeastern France.

The prestigious International Competition for Young Conductors, which was established in 1951, takes place every two years and encompasses a repertoire spanning classical, Romantic, 20th-century and contemporary music, as well as oratorio and opera. It has been self-described as “the most complete competition in the world: a real marathon, not only for the candidates but also for the public.”

Heyward, 23, was selected from a pool of 260 candidates from across the globe, and was the youngest of the three finalists by nine years. He conducted pieces by John Adams, Guillaume Connesson (world premiere) and Johannes Brahms for a jury chaired by the renowned conductor and pianist Dennis Russell Davies.

While attending the Conservatory, Heyward launched into his operatic studies with Andrew Altenbach and eventually served as an assistant conductor for the opera department (2012-2014). During that time, Heyward contributed to a number of productions, including La BohèmeZauberflöte and The Rape of Lucretia. In 2013, he was named music director for Mooch the Messy, a children’s opera that toured multiple Boston-area schools and museums. In December 2014, Heyward joined Hampstead Garden Opera, taking on the role of associate conductor.

Currently, Heyward is pursuing an M.M. in orchestral conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He recently debuted with the Victor Hugo Franche-Comté and Basel Symphony Orchestras.

Watch a segment from Heyward conducting at the International Competition for Young Conductors here.