14-15 Season
15-16 Season
Organ Performances
Single Tickets
Student Rush
Flex Tickets
Group Tickets
Plan Your Visit
Program Notes
Past Performances
One-Page Calendar
Out at the Symphony
Magic of Music Lunches
Parties of Note
Club 501
Rhapsodie Quartet Recital
Concert on the Green
Free Farmers' Market Concerts
Symphony Season Opening Gala
The Final Forte
Club 201
Arts Ball
Donate Now
Individual Giving
Corporate Giving
Endowment Giving
Planned Giving
Madison Symphony Orchestra League
Friends of the Overture Concert Organ
Michelle Kaebisch
Award for Excellence in Music Education
Link Up
MSO In the Schools
MSO in the Community
Young People's Concerts
Young Artist Competitions
Musical Resources
Board of Directors
Conductors & Musicians
Employment & Auditions
News & Reviews
Score Newsletter
Overture Concert Organ
Madison Symphony Chorus
Hamburg Steinway Piano

Photo by Prasad Photography

In his 21st season as Music Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Grammy and Tony Award-winning conductor John DeMain is noted for his dynamic performances on concert and opera stages throughout the world. American composer Jake Heggie recently assessed the conductor’s broad appeal, saying, “There’s no one like John DeMain. In my opinion, he’s one of the top conductors in the world.”

During his two decades in Madison as the MSO Music Director, DeMain has consistently raised the quality of the orchestra by introducing blind auditions and continuously expanding the repertoire to encompass ever more challenging and virtuosic works, including the highly acclaimed performances of the complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler. DeMain also oversaw the move into the world-class Overture Hall and expanded the subscription season to triple performances.

His active conducting schedule has taken him to the stages of the National Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the symphonies of Seattle, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, San Antonio, and Jacksonville, along with the Pacific Symphony, Boston Pops, Aspen Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of Seville, the Leipzig MDR Sinfonieorchester, and Mexico’s Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.

Future engagements in 2014-15 take him to the symphonies of Long Beach and Columbus, and in 2016, a return to the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

DeMain also serves as Artistic Director for Madison Opera, where he conducted Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in spring 2014 to critical acclaim. He previously conducted the Australia and New York premieres of Dead Man Walking. During spring 2014, he returned to Virginia Opera to conduct Carmen and to San Francisco Opera for their debut of Show Boat. He has been a regular guest conductor with Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Glimmerglass Festival in up-state New York, Aspen Music Festival, Portland Opera, and Mexico’s National Opera.

During his distinguished 17-year tenure with Houston Grand Opera, DeMain led a history-making production of Porgy and Bess, winning a Grammy Award, Tony Award and France’s Grand Prix du Disque for the RCA recording. In spring 2014, the San Francisco Opera released an HD DVD of their most recent production of Porgy and Bess, conducted by John DeMain.

DeMain began his career as a pianist and conductor in his native Youngstown, Ohio. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Juilliard School in New York City and made a highly acclaimed debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. DeMain was the second recipient of the Julius Rudel Award at New York City Opera and one of the first six conductors to receive the Exxon/National Endowment for the Arts Conductor Fellowship for his work with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

DeMain holds honorary degrees from the University of Nebraska and Edgewood College and he is a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He resides in Madison with his wife, Barbara; their daughter, Jennifer, is currently a student at the UW-Madison.