Full Name
John Varineau
Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra
Speaker Bio
Now in his fourth decade on the podium for the Grand Rapids Symphony, Associate Conductor John Varineau conducts concerts on nearly all of its series including the Fox Motors Pops, the Gerber SymphonicBoom, the DTE Energy Foundation Family, and the PNC Lollipop as well as the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops and a wide variety of educational and outreach concerts throughout the area.

The 2018-19 season marks his 34th year as a conductor with the Grand Rapids Symphony and his 31st season as conductor of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra. Additionally, he conducts the Grand Rapids Symphony in performances with the Grand Rapids Ballet including the 2014 world premiere of a new version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a production co-designed by Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg, author and illustrator of The Polar Express.

Varineau’s guest conducting appearances have included the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra as well as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Oklahoma City Philharmonic. He formerly served as music director of the Holland Chamber Orchestra (now the Holland Symphony Orchestra).

A clarinetist, John Varineau presents solo recitals and plays in the contemporary music group, Ensemble Montage, and the woodwind trio, ma non troppo. He is an adjunct professor of music at Calvin College where he conducts the Calvin College Orchestra and teaches clarinet and occasional academic courses. He also conducts the Calvin Community Symphony, an ensemble open to both Calvin alumni and community musicians.

Committed to nurturing the next generation of classical music lovers, Varineau is a frequent visitor to area schools and shares an infectious enthusiasm with students throughout West Michigan.

A native of Laramie, Wyoming, Varineau attended Michigan State University and the University of Wyoming for his clarinet training and earned his master’s degree at Yale School of Music.

He has made three recordings with the Grand Rapids Symphony and three with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He married his wife, Gwen, in the same year that he joined the Grand Rapids Symphony. They have a daughter, Jade, and a son, Justin.
John Varineau