Maestro Donald Portnoy
Donald Portnoy is universally recognized as one of America’s dynamic and inspiring symphony orchestra conductors. He brings to music a unique awareness and appreciation for the audience and a refreshing sensitivity toward the musicians with whom he works. As a guest conductor he has earned fame with the major orchestras of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Buffalo, and with other major regional orchestras throughout the United States, Argentina, Brazil, China, England, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, Romania, and Switzerland.
Dr. Portnoy has served as music director and conductor of the Pittsburgh Opera Theater and the Pittsburgh Civic Symphony. For the 2002-2004 seasons he was appointed principal Guest Conductor of the Harbin Orchestra and the China Opera and Dance Symphony in Beijing. In March 2004 Portnoy received Columbia University’s 2004 Ditson Conductor’s Award for his commitment to the performance of works by American composers, and in June 2004 he was awarded the Greater Augusta Arts Council “Artist of the Year” Award.
Portnoy holds the Ira McKissick Koger Endowed Chair for the Fine Arts at the University of South Carolina, where he is Director of Orchestral Studies and Conductor of the USC Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He is the founder and director of the renowned Conductors Institute whose participants come from all parts of the United States and abroad to attend annual summer sessions in Columbia.
In December 2009-January 2010 Dr. Portnoy traveled around the world to guest conduct orchestras and give master classes in conducting and violin in Spain, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. As music director and conductor of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra he conducted three concerts during the 2010 season, and on June 2 received the following comment from the Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina): “Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of his “Le tombeau de Couperin” a cheerfully hopeful homage, emerged in Portnoy’s hands as close to perfection as could be ever wanted.”