Jonathan Colby

Jonathan Colby



Born and raised in Middlesex, England, Jonathan Colby’s conducting has been praised by the Cape Cod Times for its “precision and vitality.” In 2014, he was appointed Music Director of the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, and is the orchestra’s second conductor in its 42-year history. He conducts a 5 concert subscription series and additional pops concerts each season. Recent works include Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 “Organ” and the Dvorak Te Deum with The Hartford Chorale. In 2023 he founded the Farmington Public Schools Education Series bringing live orchestral music during the school day to more than 1,000 k-5 graders across four Farmington Elementary Schools. 

He is currently in his thirteenth season as Artistic Director of the Worcester Youth Orchestras, and conducts the 85 member Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) and oversees three additional orchestras, a jazz program, wind ensemble and chamber music program. He works with five conducting faculty, 18 teaching artists and five administrative staff who provide music education and ensemble training to over 250 students from central Massachusetts. Under his leadership, he has grown the Worcester Youth Orchestras from one ensemble to eight ensembles. Jonathan has toured with the WY Symphony to Montreal, Quebec, throughout the Northeast, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Slovakia. 

For 19 years Jonathan served as Music Director and Principal Conductor with College Light Opera Company. At College Light Opera he garnered much praise from critics on his “commendable music direction” (Barnstable Patriot) and “inspired” (Cape Cod Times) interpretations of European and American operetta as well as classic American Musical Theater. In 2010, he was awarded a grant from the Victor Herbert Foundation to restore the score of the composer’s comic opera Naughty Marietta. In August 2013, he was awarded the WISE Foundation’s Conductor of the Year Award for his music direction and conducting of Die Fledermaus, which the Cape Cod Time described as “dynamic” and full of “technical prowess”.

In demand as a guest conductor and clinician he has conducted various NYSSMA, CTMEA, MMEA festival orchestras, led performances at SUNY Purchase and NYC Opera Center, the Commonwealth Lyric Opera and Lucky Ten Studios, the WISE Foundation and Ip Piano School Annual Concerto Competition series at the Tsai Performing Arts Center. He has also worked with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Prior study was an apprenticeship in Salzburg and Vienna under the tutelage of Heinz Ferlesch (BCF), BA in Music and History from Drew University and a MM in Orchestral Conducting from UMass Amherst.