Pauline Barrett Artistic Director & Conductor
Jason Weinberger stands out among musicians of his generation for his wholly contemporary approach to the programming, presentation, and performance of ensemble music. As a conductor and concert producer he works with diverse ensembles across the globe to create meaningful connections and vibrant experiences around music. These interests also coalesce in The New Live, which Jason founded to bring sophisticated multimedia projects to orchestras and other presenters.
Jason is currently Pauline Barrett Artistic Director of Iowa’s pioneering ensemble wcfsymphony, having also spent four years in a unique dual role combining his musical work with the responsibilities of CEO. Under his leadership the orchestra has made major strides, performing a wide variety of new and recent American music by up-and-coming composers including Chris Thile, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Timo Andres, Adam Schoenberg, Daniel Roumain, and Gabriel Kahane and collaborating with some of today’s most important musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, David Shifrin, David Krakauer, Peter Schickele, Brandi Carlile, Matt Haimovitz, Simone Dinnerstein and Edgar Meyer. Jason has established several successful wcfsymphony concert series in community-oriented venues and has expanded the orchestra’s horizons to include incisive, informed performances of 17th- and 18th-century music and jazz. Jason is also a dynamic proponent of the arts throughout the Cedar Valley and spearheads wcfsymphony’s wide-ranging community engagement initiatives. As likely to be found in an elementary school classroom as on a stage, Jason brings his natural ease with young people to wcfsymphony’s captivating concerts for kids.
Both in and beyond his work with wcfsymphony Jason is dedicated to reinvigorating the symphonic tradition through collaboration with creative voices from outside the orchestra hall. In addition to his groundbreaking multimedia presentations for The New Live, he is the conductor for Grammy-winning singer songwriter Brandi Carlile – they have appeared together multiple times at the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Nashville Symphony – and has partnered with a host of artists and bands including Gary Kelley, Mochilla, PROJECT Trio and Calexico. He is also active as a live film conductor and has led screen-coordinated performances of scores from The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Snowman, and others.
Jason’s singular outlook was formed by both his education and his work with a variety of notable ensembles. He is a native of Los Angeles and began his musical training there on both piano and clarinet, pursuing studies on the latter instrument with Yehuda Gilad at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts. He attended Yale University, first receiving a bachelor’s with academic distinction in intellectual history and then completing a master’s degree in clarinet performance under the tutelage of David Shifrin. After leaving Yale Jason attended the Peabody Conservatory as a master’s student of Gustav Meier and was a recipient of the Graduate Conducting Fellowship and a Peabody Career Grant. Other mentors included Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute, David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival, and Donald Thulean.
Jason began his professional career as a cover conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra and performed with the NSO several times in addition to leading the Kennedy Center/National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute. While in the mid-Atlantic region Jason directed the orchestra program at the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he founded an adventurous chamber orchestra and conceived and led a number of new initiatives for engaging and mentoring urban youth through music. Other notable ensemble affiliations include the Louisville Orchestra, with whom he was awarded a national Bruno Walter Career Grant for his four year tenure as resident conductor.
Jason’s blog at jasonweinberger.com serves as a platform for his wide-ranging interests including strong advocacy of digital accessibility and openness in the arts. He welcomes comments about his work at his website. Jason loves life with his wife Jenette and their three boys: Benjamin , Levi , and Miles . As an alpine ski racing dad – and masters racer himself – he hauls tons of gear and spends copious amounts of time waxing skis. When not traveling for concerts, Jason can be found hanging with his kids at their 1870s farmhouse in Cedar Falls, Iowa, skiing the East in Vermont, or exploring the Sierras near Mammoth Lakes, California.