Once again, the six finalists of the Cliburn Amateur Competition will perform one movement of a concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of acclaimed conductor Damon Gupton at Bass Performance Hall.
FORT WORTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is deeply committed to uniting its community through performance, education, and outreach, reaching an audience of more than 200,000 annually. Since its beginnings in 1912, the FWSO has been an essential thread in the city’s cultural fabric and the very foundation of Fort Worth’s performing arts. Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya, now in his 19th season at the artistic helm of the FWSO, has led the orchestra into the 21st century to new levels of excellence. Under his leadership, the FWSO has performed at Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras. Throughout his tenure, the FWSO has released 13 recordings—with several being world-premiere releases—garnering international acclaim. Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the FWSO have embraced creative collaborations through residencies, partnerships, and commissions. As the principal resident company of the acoustically superb Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, the Orchestra performs a full season of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed guest artists and works by living composers. The Orchestra performs and partners with the Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, Cliburn, and Performing Arts Fort Worth. Each summer at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, the FWSO presents Concerts In The Garden—a series of family-friendly concerts that has become a city-wide tradition. Additionally, the orchestra hosts an annual Festival of Orchestras, providing an opportunity for non-professional orchestras across the state of Texas to perform in Bass Performance Hall. The FWSO keeps exceptional musical experiences at the heart of its community. After all—life is better with music!
A native of Detroit, Damon Gupton held the post of assistant conductor of the Kansas City Symphony from 2006 to 2008. Gupton received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Michigan. He studied conducting with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as American conducting fellow of the Houston Symphony for the 2004–2005 season and has made conducting appearances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, The Cincinnati Pops, National Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Florida Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, NHK Orchestra of Tokyo, Orquesta Filarmonica de UNAM, Brass Band of Battle Creek, New York University Steinhardt Orchestra, Kinhaven Music School Orchestra, Vermont Music Festival Orchestra, Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Orchestra and Sphinx Symphony as part of the 12th annual Sphinx Competition. He led the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra on a national tour with performances at Carnegie Hall and a well-reviewed recording available at White Pine Music. He also conducted the finals of the Seventh Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in 2016. He is a winner of the Third International Eduardo Mata Conducting Competition, held in Mexico City. Musical collaborations include work with Marcus Miller, Kenn Hicks, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Byron Stripling, Tony DeSare, The Midtown Men, Kathleen Battle, and Jamie Cullum.
Mr. Gupton has been featured as narrator in many venues including for The Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Houston Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and on the The Videmus recording Fare Ye Well. He also narrated a concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Additional awards include the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize and The Aspen Conducting Prize. Mr. Gupton is the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan School of Music and Alumni Society.
An accomplished actor, Mr. Gupton graduated from the Drama Division of The Juilliard School in New York. He has had roles in television, film, and on stage, including the Broadway production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Clybourne Park, the Ovation and LA Drama Critic’s Circle award winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Mark Taper Forum), Superior Donuts (The Geffen), Christina Anderson’s Inked Baby (Playwrights Horizons), Meg’s New Friend (The Production Company), Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter (Arena Stage), True History and Real Adventures (The Vineyard Theatre),Treason (Perry Street Theatre), and The Story (Public Theater). He also performed the title role of Academy Award-winner Eric Simonson’s Carter’s Way at Kansas City Repertory Theater. Mr. Gupton was featured in the title role in the critically acclaimed Heart of America Shakespeare Festival production of Othello. He received an AUDELCO nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Clybourne Park.
Mr. Gupton’s television credits include series regular roles on Black Lightning, Criminal Minds, The Player, The Divide, Prime Suspect, and Deadline as well as guest appearances on Goliath, A&E’s Bates Motel, Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, Suits, Empire, Rake starring Greg Kinnear, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Conviction, The Unusuals, Third Watch, Hack, and Drift. He appeared in Damien Chazelle’s Academy Award-winning films Whiplash and La La Land, as well as This is Forty, The Last Airbender, Helen at Risk, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, Unfaithful, and The Loretta Claiborne Story.