Actor Damon Gupton Named Cincinnati Pops Principal Guest Conductor

Damon Gupton has starred in shows like 'Criminal Minds' and 'Black Lighting.' Now he'll be the Pops' first-ever principal guest conductor.

Aug 19, 2019 at 11:12 am
click to enlarge Damon Gupton - Courtesy Cincinnati Pops // Damu Malik
Courtesy Cincinnati Pops // Damu Malik
Damon Gupton

The Cincinnati Pops announced the appointment of actor and musician Damon Gupton as their first-ever principal guest conductor. The Detroit native has guest-conducted for the Pops since 2014 and most recently led last October’s Haunted Hall concerts.

Gupton’s three-year contract will lead with a live orchestra film screening of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Following that, in the 2019-2020 season he'll conduct the annual New Year’s Eve concert, the Classical Roots concert in March and a one-night concert with Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers in April.

In a statement, Pops conductor John Morris Russell calls Gupton “a tremendous talent and a fantastic musician who has really connected with our audiences and musicians.”

A music education graduate of the University of Michigan, Gupton went on to study at the Aspen Music Festival School with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin. He was an American Conducting Fellow with the Houston Symphony and served as assistant conductor for the Kansas City Symphony. His guest conducting credits include the San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Long Beach Symphony.

But Gupton is perhaps best known as an actor, having graduated in drama from New York City’s Juilliard School and starred in shows like Black Lightning and Criminal Minds.

In a statement, Gupton said he looks forward to getting to know Cincinnati even better and that he’s grateful to be working alongside versatile musicians and with an orchestra whose “programming and artistic collaborations are exceptional.” 

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