Artistic Staff - Berkeley Symphony - Bay Area Artists and Composers

Artistic Staff


American conductor Joseph Young is the Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony, Artistic Director of Ensembles for the Peabody Conservatory, and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall.

His 2022–2023 season features debuts with the L.A. Phil at the Hollywood Bowl; with Washington
National Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra, both at the Kennedy Center; and at Carnegie Hall leading the National Youth Orchestra.

Recent engagements include his San Francisco Symphony debut; inaugurating the Mzansi National Philharmonic (Johannesburg); and the world premiere of Fierce (Cincinnati Opera). He has appeared with the Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony, New World Symphony, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (Portugal), and the Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de RTVE (Spain), among many others.

Joseph graduated from Peabody with an Artist’s Diploma, studying with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. His mentors include Jorma Panula, Robert Spano, and Marin Alsop, with whom he maintains an artistic partnership.


René Mandel was appointed Executive Director of Berkeley Symphony on August 1, 2011, and assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2019. He began his relationship with Berkeley Symphony in 2006 as Artistic Administrator, Orchestra Manager, and Principal Second Violin. In these roles he was instrumental in elevating the overall quality of the orchestra by successfully recruiting high-caliber musicians, a trend that has continued into this season. He also was responsible for hiring soloists, managing concert repertoire, and working with Kent Nagano to develop and implement Berkeley Akademie Ensemble, a new program of Berkeley Symphony dedicated to exploring repertoire for small orchestras. René also served on the Music Director search committee, which discovered and hired Joana Carneiro. Read More


With the “energy, creativity and charisma not seen since Leonard Bernstein” and “vibrant,” “mind-blowing,” and “spectacular” conducting, Ming Luke is a versatile conductor that has excited audiences around the world.  Highlights include conducting the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow, performances of Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella at the Kennedy Center, his English debut at Sadler’s Wells with Birmingham Royal, conducting Dvorak’s Requiem in Dvorak Hall in Prague, recording scores for a Coppola film, and over a hundred performances at the San Francisco War Memorial with San Francisco Ballet.  He has been recognized nationally for his work with music education and has designed and conducted education concerts and programs with organizations such as the Berkeley Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and others.  Luke has soloed as a pianist with Pittsburgh Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and San Francisco Ballet, and currently serves as Music Director for the Merced Symphony and Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra; Principal Conductor of the Nashville Ballet, Associate Conductor for the Berkeley Symphony; and Principal Guest Conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.  Long time critic Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Ming Luke delivered the best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of [Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet]” and in 2016 Luke’s War Requiem was named best choral performance of 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Read More


Acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro is Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa and Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon. From 2009 to 2018 she was Music Director of Berkeley Symphony, succeeding Kent Nagano as only the third music director in the 40-year history of the orchestra. She also currently serves as official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra. Read More


Kent Nagano is renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence. He is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into established repertoire. He has been Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since September 2006. In September 2013, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. In September 2015, he took up the position of General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, and since 2006 he has been appointed Honorary Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Read More