Jonathan Pasternack conducts symphony orchestras, opera and ballet internationally. His debut recording on the Naxos label, leading the London Symphony Orchestra in Béla Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin Suite and the Symphony No. 1 by Johannes Brahms, was hailed by critics as “superbly done” (FANFARE), with “risk-taking, profound” Brahms (National Public Radio), and Bartók sounding “especially delectable in Pasternack’s hands” (The Seattle Times).
Since 2015, Pasternack has held the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra. His guest conducting experience has included appearances in over a dozen different countries, with such ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra, Residentie Orkest of The Hague, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in Bucharest, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, among many others.
Born and raised in New York City, Jonathan Pasternack studied trombone, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, and won a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music at the age of sixteen. He made his conducting debut at the age of eighteen, while an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he founded a chamber orchestra. After studying conducting with Peter Erős, Neeme Järvi and Jorma Panula, Pasternack won distinctions at the Aspen and Brevard Music Festivals, and was awarded Second Prize at the Sixth Cadaqués International Conducting Competition, in Barcelona, where he was the only American invited to compete.
Jonathan Pasternack has also taught conducting, orchestral performance and chamber music as a visiting professor at various music schools and conservatories in the United States and Europe. During his time at the University of Washington School of Music, he led the United States premieres of Sofia Gubaidulina's The Rider on the White Horse and Joël-François Durand's Athanor, the Seattle premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s Un sourire, and a celebrated ballet collaboration with Montreal's Compagnie Marie Chouinard for the centenary of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. In 2020, Pasternack was appointed to the visiting faculty of Spain’s newest conservatory, Musical Arts Madrid.
With over thirty opera and ballet productions to his credit, Jonathan Pasternack led acclaimed performances of Tosca, Don Carlo, and La Bohéme, as Music Director of Bellevue Opera. Other productions have included Lakmé, Adriana Lecouvreur, Albert Herring, Die Fledermaus, and Hansel and Gretel, in Seattle, as well as Tosca and L’elisir d’amore with Pacific Northwest Opera. Pasternack has also led premieres of chamber operas by Robert Clerc and Gloria Wilson Swisher, and toured as the conductor of Wayne Horvitz’s genre-crossing opera/oratorio, The Heartsong of Charging Elk. Committed to performing and promoting the music of our time, Jonathan Pasternack led performances of new compositions as conductor of Affinity, a contemporary ensemble based in Seattle.
Pasternack is a noted scholar of the music of Johannes Brahms, having produced the first complete English translation of "Brahms in der Meininger Tradition," a significant source document relating to the performance practice of the composer's four symphonies and Haydn variations.