Allen Tinkham is increasingly recognized as one of the most gifted conductors and teachers of his generation. He is hailed by The Chicago Tribune as one of Chicago’s most important “educators, mentors and inspirational guides in the training of tomorrow’s orchestral professionals,” working “wonders” in concerts performed at a “professional level.”
As Music Director of Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Tinkham oversees all artistic programming and faculty for the organization. He has led the Symphony Orchestra to critical acclaim on four continents in performances at some of the world’s greatest halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Montevideo’s Teatro Solis, and the Concert Hall of National Grand Theater Beijing.
Tinkham has won nine ASCAP Awards for the Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music with CYSO, and has premiered many works with CYSO of such composers as Daron Aric Hagen, Gabriel Prokofiev, Augusta Read Thomas, and Marc-Anthony Turnage.
A champion of contemporary music, he has also recently been appointed Music Director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra, an ensemble devoted to performing contemporary music with an emphasis on premieres and works by Chicago-area composers. Other recent guest appearances include the Colorado Symphony and the Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is also on faculty at the New York Summer Music Festival and the Columbia College of Chicago, and is in high demand as a guest conductor and teacher, having conducted at All-State festival orchestras and summer festivals across the country.
Prior to his appointment in Chicago, Tinkham served as Apprentice Conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, where he mentored under Music Director James DePreist. He also served for many years as a cover conductor at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Tinkham received the Bachelor of Music with Distinction in a Double Major of Theory and Double Bass from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music from the University of
Michigan in Orchestral Conducting. At the University of Michigan, he served as Music Director of both the Campus Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras and received the Helen and Clyde Wu Conducting Fellowship, the youngest conductor to receive these distinctions. He continued his conducting studies for many summers at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen and at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak. Tinkham’s principal teachers include David Effron, Murry Sidlin, and Kenneth Kiesler. He has also studied with David Zinman and James DePreist.