A musician of diverse and accomplished talents, Donald Chan has worked as conductor, music director, and composer with the most esteemed names in American Music. He received his Master’s degree from Julliard School and completed his doctoral work at the University of Colorado. As music director, Dr. Chan’s career has encompassed many of the most important, influential works of American Musical Theatre, including West Side Story, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Pirates of Penzance, and Phantom of the Opera.
His work away from Broadway, at such prestigious organisations as the American Conservatory Theatre, Cleveland Opera, Seattle Opera, and Seattle Repertory Theatre has received only the highest praise. For twelve years, maestro Chan served as music director for the historic St. Louis Municipal Opera, the largest theatre in the United States. Over the span of his distinguished career, he has collaborated with such luminaries as Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Chita Rivera, Carol Lawrence, Joel Grey, Len Cariou, Sid Ceasar, Martha Graham, and a host of others.
With the San Jose Symphony, maestro Chan was the featured piano soloist for Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety. As composer, he has written for a wide variety of ensembles, has provided incidental music to the plays of Ibsen and Brecht, and contributed the score to the award-winning PBS documentary March of the Living.
Of the more than the 100 musicals and operettas he has musically directed and conducted, West Side Story is the piece that he is most often called upon to direct, including special productions in 2000 and 2003 for the La Scala Opera Company in Milan, Italy. Maestro Chan has served as musical director for more than 3000 performances of West Side Story, more than any other conductor directed.