A student of Kurt Masur, Marin Alsop and David Zinman, conductor Jonathan Andrew Govias has worked with some of the leading ensembles of the world, including the symphonies of Montréal, Cincinnati, Kansas City, San Diego, the Tonhalle Orchester of Zurich, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada and the Teresa Carreño Orchestra of Caracas.
In his capacity as Artistic Director and curator of Symphony of Diversity, an orchestral anti-racism initiative of international scope and prominence, he has set new standards for powerful, effective advocacy and social action through music in both live and virtual formats. The 2021 production A Thousand Thunderbolts, commemorating the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, garnered invitations from music conferences, music institutions and performing arts centres around the world. In 2022 Symphony of Diversity will become a national endeavour, bringing musicians from across the US for a performance at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in Portland, Oregon.
He is also Artistic Director of the Kay Meek Young Orchestras Encounter in Vancouver. Bringing together multiple university, high school and middle school orchestras from across the region and the continent for a week of engagement, outreach, interaction and performance, the program is unique in its emphasis on leadership and service through music.
As a specialist in working with both diverse populations and young orchestras, he has worked with leading outreach programs in England, Scotland, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Canada, Israel and South Africa, performing and demonstrating cutting-edge rehearsal techniques for social engagement. His invited speaking engagements on ensemble direction and music education since October 2010 include academic institutions such as the University of Western Ontario, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Cape Town University, Liverpool John Moores University, Western Washington University; centres for industry and innovation such Hub Zurich and Hub Vienna; two national symposia on the Arts in Education at London’s South Bank Centre; and NAMM and the music education association conferences for the provinces of Alberta and Québec.
In addition to a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from McGill University, Govias is the recipient of multiple honours, including the Priddy Fellowship in Arts Leadership, the Reinhard Mohn Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Abreu Fellowship at the New England Conservatory. Now on his third career, as Director of Orchestral Activities at Iowa State University, he previously worked as a Marketing Director for a major symphony orchestra, and as a corporate consultant for a German media multinational before returning to music.