He has worked as a guest conductor with some of the UK's most respected orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Hallé. In early 2009, Yates made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the New York Pops Orchestra in a programme celebrating the music of Charles Strouse, and in September 2010 he conducted the flagship Proms in the Park event at Hyde Park for the third time. He is honoured to have conducted several Nobel Peace Prize concerts in Oslo.
Having studied as a pianist, composer and conductor, Yates made his conducting debut with the Israel National Opera, where over a period of two seasons he conducted productions of Verdi's La Traviata and Puccini's La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. He has conducted in the opera houses of Gothenburg, Stockholm and Rome and made his Edinburgh Festival debut conducting Bernstein's On the Town.
Yates has recorded symphonic repertoire with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony and Royal Flanders Philharmonic. He enjoys an extremely successful, and fruitful, relationship with Dutton Epoch and releases include a series of recordings of the music of Richard Arnell, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Vaughan Williams' Symphony No.5, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.