Conner Gray 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. This season he returns to the Utah Symphony as a guest conductor on several occasions and debuts with the Amarillo Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Idaho State Civic Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony. Previously, he was a Conducting Fellow 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 also being mentored by Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He began his career as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. A four-time recipient of a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., Covington was a featured conductor in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview presented by the League of American Orchestras.
Recent seasons have included appearances with the symphonies of Kansas City, Monterey (CA), Nashville, Omaha, Portland (ME), St Louis, Virginia, the Oregon Mozart Players and the Reno Chamber Orchestra. He has served as cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony and the Florentine Opera Company (Milwaukee, WI). 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.
In the summers of 2011 and 2012, Covington attended the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship student in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. There he worked closely with Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, and Hugh Wolff as well as other guest conductors throughout the summer. He has also conducted the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in a masterclass with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and for two summers studied 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. He continued his studies with Neil Varon at the Eastman School of Music where he earned a MM in orchestral conducting and was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.