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 Principal Conductor of the Deer Valley® Music Festival. During his tenure in Utah, he conducted nearly 300 performances of classical subscription, education, film, pops, and family concerts as well as tours throughout the state. In the 2023-2024 season, Covington debuts with the Tucson Symphony and returns to the North Carolina Symphony, Portland (ME) Symphony, and makes several appearances with the Utah Symphony including his return to their Masterworks series in a program of Haydn, Richard Strauss, Samuel Barber and a world premiere by Quinn Mason. With an increasing presence in the opera world, Covington makes his Utah Opera debut conducting a production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and also collaborates on a production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. A four-time recipient of the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., Covington was featured in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.
Highlights of recent seasons include appearances with the symphonies of Kansas City, Nashville, Omaha, Rochester, San Diego, Sarasota, St. Louis, and Virginia as well as at the Bellingham Festival of Music, Grand Teton Music Festival, and New England Conservatory Opera. He has served as cover conductor for the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Florentine Opera Company. 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.
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. While at Curtis, he also performed in masterclasses of Marin Alsop, Stéphane Denève, Vladimir Jurowski, and Michael Tilson Thomas. 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.
Conner currently lives in Boston with his wife Mischa and their two cats, Razel and Oreo and serves as a Visiting Faculty member at the Longy School of Music.