Conner Gray Covington
Described as “a musician who lives the music” by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Conner Gray Covington is one of the most versatile conductors of his generation. Covington recently completed a four-year tenure with the Utah Symphony as Associate Conductor and as Principal Conductor of the Deer Valley® Music Festival. During his tenure in Utah, Covington conducted nearly 300 performances of classical subscription, education, film, pops, and family concerts as well as tours throughout the state. In the 2022-2023 season, he makes return visits to the North Carolina Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Utah Symphony and debuts with the Bellingham Festival of Music while also serving as visiting faculty at the Longy School of Music. Covington also returns to the opera world with performances of THE TURN OF THE SCREW at the New England Conservatory and a new production of Tod Machover VALIS as part of MIT’s Opera of the Future project featuring Davón Tines. A four-time recipient of a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., Covington was featured in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.
In recent seasons Covington has appeared with the symphonies of Amarillo, Fort Wayne, Kansas City, Monterey (CA), Nashville, Omaha, Portland, St. Louis, and Virginia as well as the Oregon Mozart Players and Reno Chamber Orchestra. He has served as cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony and the Florentine Opera Company. Covington has also worked with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich as part of the 6th International David Zinman Conducting Masterclass. In 2014, Covington was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to attend the Salzburg Festival as a recipient of the Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors. In 2012, he competed in the prestigious Malko Conducting Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he conducted the Danish National Symphony for a jury headed by Lorin Maazel and was the youngest participant to advance to the third round. Covington also worked with the New Japan Philharmonic in the 2012 Tokyo International Conducting Competition and advanced to the semi-final round.
Covington studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he worked closely with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2016, and the Curtis Opera Theater while being mentored by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He also studied with Neil Varon at the Eastman School of Music where he earned the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. For two summers, Covington attended the Aspen Conducting Academy at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he worked closely with Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, and Hugh Wolff. He also spent two summers as a student at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors.
Born in Louisiana, Covington grew up in East Tennessee and began playing the violin at age 11. He completed high school at the renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. He then went on to study violin with Dr. Martha Walvoord and conducting with Dr. Clifton Evans at the University of Texas at Arlington where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in violin performance.