John Devlin

John Devlin

HYS Music Director & PMI Artistic Director

John Devlin is the newly-appointed Music Director of Hawaii Youth Symphony, and Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Institute. He is thrilled to be assuming these positions, and to helping provide music education of the highest level to the students of Hawaii.


Devlin is a passionate educator and an active conductor of outstanding high school and collegiate ensembles. Previously, Devlin served as the Music Director of both the McLean Youth Orchestra and the Youth Orchestras of Prince William in Virginia, and on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Music as Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies. He has also been invited to conduct numerous honor ensembles, including the Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Maine All-State Orchestras.


From 2015-2018, John served as the Cover Conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. Of his debut concert with the NSO and soloist Joshua Bell, Anne Midgette of the Washington Postwrote that Devlin “led the evening with flair … and was visibly in his element.” During those same years, John was the Assistant Conductor of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Artistic Director and Conductor of Gourmet Symphony.


He has conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and at the Music Center at Strathmore.


Devlin is also a leader in designing concerts that frame orchestral music in new and innovative ways. His thinking has inspired many forward-looking concepts such as Gourmet Symphony, Go-Go Symphony, Seamless Symphony, Interactive Symphony and the New Retro Project.


These collaborations have paired artists like Joshua Bell with gourmet chefs, and legendary musicians such as Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and Larry Graham with symphony orchestras for the first time. Each reflects Devlin’s mission of making classical music attainable and engaging for all audiences. The Washington Post has hailed these projects as “refreshingly unfamiliar” events that deliver “a new audience for classical music,” and have brought “the sold-out house to its feet, cheering.”


John also cares deeply about the role that music can play in the wider world as a force for good. Gourmet Symphony’s commitment to helping those in need is carried out through the “Taste Your Music” program, which brings monthly musical and culinary experiences to the homeless in Washington, D.C. And, Devlin’s collaborations with organizations such as the Refugee Orchestra Project and Concerts for Causes have provided support to those displaced by humanitarian crisis and allowed for students in Washington to be provided with cost-free musical instruments.


Devlin has also contributed to his local musical community in a variety of ways. He volunteers annually as a grant panelist for the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Nationally, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Conductors Guild, and is an active member of the College Orchestra Directors Association and the League of American Orchestras. He has also been the featured speaker at a TEDx Symposium, where he delivered the keynote TED talk on “Innovation in Crowded Marketplaces.” The talk, available on YouTube, details the thinking that led to Gourmet Symphony and provides methodologies that might serve as a model for other innovators.


Devlin’s completed his master’s and doctoral degrees during seven years of work with master-teacher James Ross at the University of Maryland School of Music. His undergraduate degree is from Emory University where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Music and Latin. His early professional career has been shaped by his time as an assistant for Gianandrea Noseda, Christoph Eschenbach, Rossen Milanov, and Victoria Gau.


Off the podium John and his beautiful wife Camille love cooking, sushi prepared by actual chefs, pondering the art world, Netflix binges, and their bunnies, Oatmeal and Raisin. John also looks forward to cheering on his beloved Yankees, having grown up in New York, and to riding his bike while exploring Honolulu!


For more information on Devlin, including recordings and upcoming concerts, please visit