Jonathan Villegas believes in the value of educating future generations of musicians and leaders, by creating music that can inspire and connect with local communities through the engagement of this art form and its intersectional potential. As a conductor, cellist, actor, clinician, and educator, their mission is to continue transforming the world through all art forms by using our musicals gifts to help cultivate lasting relationships that will develop opportunities to continue uplifting underserved communities. Jonathan currently serves as the Assistant Artistic Director at D.C.’s Different Drummers in Washington, D.C.
After having spent the last few years performing in Portland, Oregon as the Assistant Conductor to the Portland State University Orchestra, Bands & Opera, Jonathan now resides in Baltimore, Maryland. From the desire to be a well-informed and multi-faceted symphonic conductor, Jonathan is pursuing a master’s in music in Wind Conducting at the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Harlan Parker, as an Artistic Excellence Scholar. He hopes to use their expertise as a cellist, background as a teacher and clinician to youth string orchestras and concert bands, along with his recent experience conducting multiple types of collegiate ensembles of contemporary to classical backgrounds, towards his time at Peabody to expand their skillsets with the art of wind literature to enhance their conducting.
Prior to relocating to the East Coast, Villegas has spent the past few years performing all throughout the West Coast in various regional orchestras such as the North State Symphony in Northern California and the Rogue Valley Symphony in Southern Oregon. From 2021-2023, Jonathan was the Graduate Teaching Assistant to the Portland State University Orchestra & Bands, where he served as the Assistant Conductor to the PSU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, University Band, and Opera programs. They have also supported future generations of musicians their work in Portland by serving as a Substitute Conductor for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Throughout his time there, he received his Master’s in Cello Performance in 2023 with Hamilton Cheifetz.
A native to Houston, TX, Jonathan earned their Bachelor’s in Cello Performance in 2017 from one of Texas’ leading institutions for education, Sam Houston State University. Additionally, from 2012-2017, he worked as a Conductor to the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, where he also received his formative formal conducting training from Jonathan Pasternack, Zachary Carrettin, and Jake Sustaita.
With a passion for all their students to always have fun creating high-level music, Jonathan aims to use their expertise as a conductor, towards inspiring young musicians to achieve their dreams, because after surviving all sorts of adversity through their background in representing several marginalized groups, he believes that through our passion for music, anything is possible when you believe in its transformative and healing nature. That is what inspires Villegas behind the great pleasure of continuing their work with youth ensembles, by currently serving as the Assistant Conductor to the Peabody Preparatory Wind Band.
Jonathan aims to share their diverse and dynamic background as a performer and educator, to continue to connect all aspects of music with one another, while being an ambitious and positive leader as a proud Latinx and queer performer. Presently, you can find Jonathan playing cello in the Greenspring Valley Symphony Orchestra, as a Low-Strings Teaching Artist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, and on the podium conducting the Peabody Preparatory Wind Band this winter, as well the Peabody Wind Ensemble in the spring.