Music Director

Tal Benatar is the Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D. Music Director of the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra. 


Tal Benatar is an Israeli-American conductor, currently a Doctoral Pre-Candidate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Michigan. He is thrilled to return to the LSO family, as he served as assistant conductor of the Life Sciences Orchestra in the 2017-18 season.

In addition to serving as Music Director of the LSO, Tal will continue his post as the Assistant Music Director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra, where he has served for the last three seasons. He has participated in masterclasses with distinguished conductors, such as Sir Simon Rattle, and made his European Debut in in the summer of 2018.

Tal has made conducting appearances with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, U of M Life Sciences Orchestra, The Michigan Pops Orchestra, The Charlottesville Symphony, The Charlottesville Opera, The Albemarle Sinfonia, Spectrum Orchestra and the Oratorio Society of Virginia, with which he served as Assistant Conductor for the 2015-16 season. He was the music director of the Rapidan Orchestra, a community orchestra in Central Virginia focused on bringing Western Art Music to more remote audiences.

As a genre-defying musician, Tal has performed repertoire spanning many centuries on many instruments. He has performed basso continuo on organ, harpsichord and guitar in various baroque styles. A strong advocate of new music, Tal has conducted world premieres by three University of Michigan composers, has been featured as a guitar soloist with University of Michigan’s Orpheus singers, and has performed new music with the U of M Contemporary Directions Ensemble and University Symphony Orchestra. Tal also collaborates regularly with students and faculty, conducting in many recitals within the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

In his free time, Tal is an avid cook and foodie, enjoys any chance to play soccer, and regularly collaborates with blues and rock musicians as an electric guitarist.

Tal graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 with an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting. He completed his B.A. at University of Virginia (UVA) in 2014, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in US Constitutional Law. Tal’s conducting teachers include Kenneth Kiesler, Kate Tamarkin, and Michael Slon.


Past Music Directors:

Chelsea Gallo, 2017-2018, 2018-2019

Roberto Kalb, 2015-2016, 2016-2017

Adrian Slywotzky, 2013-2014, 2014-2015

Oriol Sans, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013

Robert Boardman, 2009-2010

Mark Latham, 2008-2009

Clinton Smith, 2006-2007, 2007-2008

John Goodell, 2004-2005, 2005-2006

Laura Jackson, 2002-2003, 2003-2004

Mitchell Williams, 2000-2001, 2001-2002


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