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Joel Neves enjoys a dynamic and versatile career as an opera, ballet, and orchestra conductor and educator.

Joel is currently Director of Orchestral Activities at Michigan Technological University where he conducts the award-winning Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, winner of 2nd place nationally in the 2021 American Prize Competition for its recordings of Holst's Jupiter and Vaughan Williams's Sinfonia antartica. He also served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, a professional summer opera festival in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


Neves is a frequent guest conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Entre Ríos in Argentina, and made his professional conducting debut in Wuhan, China with the Hubei Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements include the Pine Mountain Music Festival Orchestra, Utah All-State Orchestra, and the orchestras at Brigham Young University, Northern Arizona University, and Metro State University of Denver. In 2024, he will guest conduct the Idaho All-State Orchestra, Stephen Collins Foster Music Camp (Kentucky), Filarmonica de Stat Sibiu (Romania), and the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Oahu).


Equally adept at theatre, Joel has directed numerous opera, ballet, and music theatre productions. He has conducted Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Tech Theatre Company and Bizet’s Carmen with the Pine Mountain Music Festival. He has conducted the Minnesota Ballet and KSO in three acclaimed productions of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio) and directed West Side Story with Tech Theatre.

A strong champion and advocate for college conductors, Joel recently served as National President of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), the only professional service organization for conductors of university orchestra programs in the United States, Canada, and South America. His National Repertoire Initiative led to the creation of an innovative online repertoire database for college symphony orchestras.


Neves was Assistant Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah from 2006-2009, leading masterworks, pops, and children’s concerts. He has also conducted the Orquestra de Cadaqués (Spain), Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and Bard Festival Orchestra. In 2010 he was invited as guest conductor of the Kentucky Music Educators Association All-Collegiate Orchestra. Conducting teachers include Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, Daniel Lewis, Don Schleicher, Timothy Russell, William Reber, and Kory Katseanes.

Joel received a Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral, choral, and opera conducting from Arizona State University and bachelors and masters degrees from Brigham Young University. He currently resides in Houghton, Michigan with his wife (soprano, Lara Neves) and daughter.

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