Music Director

PSO Music Director, Michael Newnham
Michael Newnham, photographed by Huw Morgan

Michael Newnham, PSO Music Director & Conductor

Michael Newnham is best known for his intense and inspiring conducting style, based on a deep knowledge of the score and informed by a strong interest in languages, cultures and history. A born communicator, his open and direct contact with musicians and audiences creates performances full of expression and energy. Michael has conducted many orchestras and opera companies throughout Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, as well as his native Canada.

Michael is now celebrating his 18th season as the Music Director of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Under his tenure, the artistic level and the community profile of the PSO have risen dramatically.

Endowed with a special passion and gift for working with young musicians, Michael became the Founding Conductor of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra (KYO) in 2002, and has been a faculty member as Conductor and Chamber Music Coach at Music at Port Milford for several years. His involvement in educating young musicians is not limited to Canada. He spent two years as Guest Professor and Orchestra Conductor at Taegu-Hyosung University in South Korea.

Along with his duties with the PSO, Michael is Interim Music Director of Orchestra Toronto, the Principal Guest Conductor of Symphony New Brunswick, and the Music Director of the KYO. Outside of Canada, Michael has also appeared at the helm of many orchestras and opera companies throughout Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Italy and South Korea.

A graduate of the conducting class of Professor Bogusław Madey at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland, Michael also studied at the Indiana University of Music and at the University of Toronto. Another very important influence for Michael was the great Bruckner specialist Georg Tintner, who was his mentor in the late 1990s.

Collaboration with Canadian composers has been central to Michael’s life in music. In the summer of 2005, he was specially honoured to have been chosen by R. Murray Schafer to be the Music Director of an acclaimed production of his “Patria: The Enchanted Forest”. He has also been instrumental in commissioning and premiering new works by Canadian composers with all of his ensembles.

Michael is a recipient of several awards, including the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland, the Turzanski Foundation Award for his services in promoting Polish music and culture in Canada, as well as the Best Conductor Award from the East Slovakian State Opera.

For more information, please visit his website at