John Kilkenny named executive director of the New York Youth Symphony

The New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) has named John Kilkenny as executive director, effective in late March. John has served as the director of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF) since 2018, after several years on the SSMF faculty. He first came to Sewanee as an SSMF student in 1993. John will continue in his current role as director of SSMF through the 2024 season.

As director, John increased the SSMF endowment, expanded artistic offerings to include composition and opera, launched an online Winterfest during the COVID-19 pandemic, and created a life coaching program—the first of its kind at any summer music festival in the country. He also expanded partnerships with many musical pathways programs, making the SSMF one of the most diverse and inclusive summer festivals in the country. His responsibilities also included the leadership of the University’s performing arts series. The 67th season of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival takes place June 16–July 14, with more than 215 students presenting 35 concerts on and around the Domain. Guest conductors include returning favorites JoAnn Falletta, H’21, and Dr. Christopher Cicconi, and newcomers Chelsea Gallo and Jonathan Rush. For more information about the SSMF, please visit