John DeMain

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John DeMain is an American conductor. In 2014 he completed his 20th season as music director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin. He is also artistic director of the Madison Opera. DeMain lives in Madison with his wife Barbara and their daughter Jennifer (b. 1992).

John Demain (right) with opera star and activist Stacey Robinson in 1995.

He served as music director and principal conductor for Houston Grand Opera for eighteen years, and later as artistic and music director for the now-defunct Opera Pacific. DeMain has also been a guest conductor for Los Angeles Opera and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. From 1983-1992, he was music director of Opera Omaha.

The conductor is respected for his work on new operas: he led the world premières of Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place (1983), John Adams's Nixon in China (1987), and Michael Tippett's New Year (1989). DeMain also conducted the United States première of Philip Glass's Akhnaten. His 1976 recording of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess for RCA Victor won a “Grammy” and remains a benchmark interpretation of this American masterpiece.

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