Yale Symphony Gets New Director

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey is pleased to announce the appointment of Toshiyuki Shimada as the new director of the Yale Symphony, the undergraduate concert orchestra.

Shimada comes to Yale from the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra where he has been Music Director for 18 years. While maintaining his position to popular acclaim in Portland, Shimada also established an international reputation as a guest conductor, leading major orchestras across the nation and throughout Europe.

“We’re very excited to have such a distinguished conductor leading Yale’s gifted and dedicated young musicians. Under Mr. Shimada’s inspiring direction, the Yale Symphony stands to scale new heights of excellence,” said Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College.

The conductor has many CDs to his credit, having recorded with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Czech–based enterprise Vienna Modern Masters and the Moravian Philharmonic. In addition to ten VMM recordings, Shimada also records for the Capstone and Albany record labels.

Shimada is Chief Creative Officer and Music Director of the Trinity Music Partners, LLC, which has secured the exclusive worldwide rights from 1451 International, Ltd and Second Renaissance to produce musical recordings for the Vatican Library Collection. The Collection is comprised of products developed in facsimile or by interpretation from the contents of the Vatican Library’s archive.

Prior to his appointment in Portland, Shimada was with the Houston Symphony. During his six–year tenure there, he was also Music Director of the Nassau Symphony and of the Cambiata Soloists, a Houston–based ensemble.

A native of Japan, Shimada began studying violin at the age of four and made his conducting debut at 11. At 15, he and his family moved to the United States. Shimada holds degrees in both conducting and clarinet from California State University at Northridge. He has also studied under Hans Swarovsky, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Daniel Lewis and Herbert Blomstedt.

Among the many honors he has received are an ASCAP Award for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music, an Italian Heritage Cultural Center Award, a Maine Publicity Bureau Cultural Award and the 2004 New Ariel Artist of the Year Award. He has been honored by numerous civic organizations for contributing to the cultural life of Portland and was named an honorary fire fighter by the Portland fire department. He is an advisor to Valid Technology Group, which promotes business in arts and science.

In addition to leading the Symphony, Shamida will hold the position of associate professor at the School of Music and in the department of music at Yale College.

The Yale Symphony is one of the most acclaimed undergraduate orchestras in the nation, whose members include students who play for the love of it and music majors with professional ambitions. Founded 40 years ago by three students, the Symphony quickly evolved from a small chamber ensemble to a professional–caliber full–orchestra, which has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to the Seoul Performing Arts Center in Korea. Shimada succeeds Shinik Hahm as director of the Symphony.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345