Donato Cabrera is currently the Assistant conductor of the SF Symphony, and the music director of the SF Symphony Youth orchestra. But this month, his main job will be to conduct a good chunk of the summer series concerts, starting tonight with a concert titled My Classic American Composers. He won't be conducting the intriguing Final Fantasy video game soundtrack concerts, but will lead the orchestra in a live accompaniment of Bernard Herrman score for Hitchcock's movie Psycho, and for more "classic" nights: an all-Beethoven fest and a wall-to-wall Tchaikovsky evening.
Despite his exotic name (Donato sounds like he could be a mutant ninja turtle), he's an up-and-coming American conductor, born in 1973 in Los Angeles and raised in the biggest little city of the world, Reno. His musical career seem to orbit around the bay area, where he was previously assistant conductor of the SF Opera under Donald Runnicles. Check out this opera pit cam of Donato in action. He's a voluble and engaging speaker who started to answer our questions before we could finish them: he sure looked quite excited about his summer gigs.