Allen Tinkham is increasingly recognized as one of the most inspiring conductors and teachers of his generation. The Chicago Tribune hailed Tinkham as working “wonders” and conducting with “uncanny control,"and described him as one of Chicago’s most important “educators, mentors and inspirational guides in the training of tomorrow’s orchestral professionals.”
As CYSO Music Director, Tinkham oversees artistic programming and faculty and leads the CYSO Symphony Orchestra each season, including appearances at Orchestra Hall in Chicago’s Symphony Center and Millennium Park's Pritzker Pavilion. The Chicago Tribune described a 2018 performance of Varèse’s Amériques — the first ever by an American youth orchestra — as one that “would have done credit to an adult professional orchestra.”
An advocate of contemporary music, Tinkham has won nine ASCAP National Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. He is also Music Director of the Chicago Composers Orchestra and a core faculty member of Columbia College's MFA, Music Composition for the Screen. Tinkham has led festival orchestras throughout the nation, including the NAfME All‐Eastern and All‐Northwest, and has guest conducted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony.
Tinkham began his career as Apprentice Conductor of the Oregon Symphony under James DePreist. Before the end of his apprenticeship, Tinkham was appointed Music Director of CYSO, making him the youngest-ever to win the post in its history.