Highly regarded for his exhilarating score interpretations, advocacy for music accessibility, innate passion and entrepreneurial vigor, Devin Patrick Hughes is an American orchestral and operatic conductor of Irish and Guatemalan descent.
He is concurrently serving as Music Director and Conductor of the Boulder Symphony and Arapahoe Philharmonic. Previously he has held artistic leadership positions with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, and Denver Philharmonic Orchestra.
Devin was recently invited to the Antal Dorati Conducting Competition and featured in Maestro, the Solti International Conducting Competition as a semi-finalist in Budapest. He was the only American selected with eleven other conductors worldwide to compete in the Toscanini International Conducting Competition, and was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. He has conducted orchestras across North America and Europe including the Winnipeg Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Salina Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, and Orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera.
In response to COVID-19, Devin has created multiple programs connecting orchestras to their communities including the Virtual Virtuoso Series & Music Connects Series, partnering with organizations such as Balfour Senior Assisted Living and Community Food Share to produce performances and dinners both virtually and live. In addition to producing outdoor and drive in concerts, including Boulder Arts Outdoors, Brass in the Park-ing Lot, and the world-renowned Takács Quartet, Devin can be heard on One Symphony, his new podcast amplifying the voices of composers and other artistic entrepreneurs.
Devoted to music existing for a greater communal purpose, Devin attracts and creatively engages audiences of all stripes by bringing the stories behind the music to life and inspiring critically acclaimed performances. Showcasing his passion for outreach, Devin founded and developed a high school apprenticeship program, a community chamber music initiative and play-in, a summer camp for all ages, and has held benefit concerts for organizations such as the Red Cross, Oxfam International, Cultures in Harmony, and the Colorado Haiti Project. He has also served as an AmeriCorps tutor, mentor and coach for Nothing But Achievers, and the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, where he arranged spirituals for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March, and created the Boulder Symphony Music Academy, which offers an environment in which students of diverse backgrounds and ages have the opportunity to explore their unique musical talents and to bring the best of themselves, their creativity, and their intellectual skills to their music and life.
In addition to the Boulder Symphony Music Academy, Devin has partnered to make music more universally accessible through organizations such as Carnegie Hall’s LinkUp, I Have A Dream, Circle of Care, Freemasons, Boulder Muse, El Sistema, Flatirons Strings Academy, and Pinnacle Charter School in Denver. Through the Glow Project and other sensory-friendly performances geared to those with autism and dementia, Devin has created programs tailored to those who cannot experience the full sound and stimulation of a symphony live. He has chaired multiple foundational competitions nurturing the development of young performers, composers, and conductors, and serves as guest clinician for multiple school districts across Colorado. Aside from Devin’s frequent appearances as a clinician and speaker, he has taught courses at the Denver Academy for Lifelong Learning and the Music Schools of the University of Denver, Ithaca College in New York, and New Mexico School for the Arts and serves as an annual guest artist and adjudicator with the International Keyboard Odyssiad and Festival and Sound Espressivo Global Music Competition.
Equally active in choral and operatic repertoire, Devin has made community collaborations a recurrent part of orchestral life. He has combined local orchestras, businesses and non-profits to begin a community-based opera program which combines seasoned operatic professionals with aspiring artists and enthusiastic community members to create unique operatic experiences. This grassroots opera initiative based in Colorado attracts dozens of vocalists nationwide per season for critically acclaimed opera and operetta productions along the Front Range, and spawned a new Opera Chorus that performs with orchestras across the region. Among others, Devin has led productions of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Puccini’s La Bohème, Bizet’s Carmen, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ German Requiem, and has also premiered choral-orchestral works by living composers such as Ozie Cargile, Austin Wintory & Gregory T.S. Walker.
A zealous performer and promoter of the music of our time, Devin has fostered multiple composer-in-residency programs premiering dozens of new works. He has also constructed innovative avenues to bring new music to the forefront of the classical music scene. Under his baton, the Arapahoe Philharmonic and the Boulder Symphony have soared to new artistic heights and become a centralized hub for community-wide outreach and education initiatives, major collaborations, operatic performances, and premieres and recordings of exciting new music.
Dedicated to highlighting local composers and exploring the interplay of music, theatre, art, and dance, Devin also commissioned and performed multiple musical responses to exhibitions in the Museum of Contemporary Art during Denver Arts Week. Recently Devin has brought premieres of award winning composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s music to Colorado and initiated a collaboration between abstract painter Will Day and composer Jonathan Bingham which resulted in music and art extemporaneously being created in real-time in collaboration with the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. As a civic-minded citizen and ambassador for the arts, Devin was appointed by City Council to serve as Arts & Culture Commissioner for the City of Boulder. Devin’s education includes studies at Ithaca College School of Music, University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, Grinnell College, Vienna Conservatory of Music, and Ball State University.