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sym-milnes-w David Milnes serves as Music Director of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, as well as Music Director of the Eco Ensemble, Berkeley’s professional new music ensemble in residence.  In his early years, he studied piano, organ, clarinet, cello, and voice, and briefly considered a career as a jazz pianist, appearing with Chuck Mangione, Gene Krupa, Billy Taylor and John Pizzarelli.  After receiving advanced degrees in conducting from SUNY Stony Brook and the Yale School of Music and studying with Otto-Werner Mueller, Herbert Blomstedt, Erich Leinsdorf and Leonard Bernstein, he won the prestigious Exxon Assistant Conductor position with the San Francisco Symphony, where he also served as Music Director of the highly acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, which he led on its first European tour in 1986. A dedicated proponent of new music, from 2002-2009 Milnes was Music Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, with whom he commissioned and premiered many new works from around the world.  He has made recordings of music by John Anthony Lennon, James Newton, Edmund Campion, Jorge Liderman and Pablo Ortiz and has collaborated in performances with Frederica von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, Bill T. Jones, Paul Hillier, James Newton, David Starobin and Chanticleer, appearing at the Santa Fe, Tanglewood, Aspen and Monadnock Music Festivals. David Milnes became a Professor in the Department of Music in 1996 after holding posts at SUNY Purchase and Southern Methodist University, as well as teaching at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  A noted teacher of conducting, his students have held posts around the world.  In addition to his many performing activities at Berkeley, he indulges in his first musical love by teaching a popular course in jazz history each summer.