Artistic Staff

Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mark Russell Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making – qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike.  In June of 2007, Smith was appointed Director of New Music Projects of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota, a combined post that enabled him to bring his commitment for excellence and passion for education to new audiences.  In September of 2008, he became Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and has since presided while the orchestra has enjoyed five successive seasons of subscription ticket sales growth, and has brought a newly focused artistic vision to the organization.  In the winter and spring of 2012, Smith was the instigating artistic force behind the University of Minnesota School of Music’s Britten Peace Project, which combined musical and historical study and community engagement, culminating in critically acclaimed performances of Britten’s War Requiem in Europe and America, collaborating with German and American music students, professional musicians and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

As a guest conductor, Smith enjoys a burgeoning international reputation that has brought him engagements and re-engagements with prestigious American orchestras, including the St. Louis Symphony, the Houston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A champion of the music of our time, Smith led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Engine 408 series, working closely with living composers and adding his unique perspective to enhance the orchestra’s great tradition of fostering new works. He has collaborated with YoYo Ma and members of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in Hún Qiáo (Bridge of Souls), a concert of remembrance and reconciliation featuring world premieres by Korean, Japanese, Chinese and American composers.

Smith grew up in a musical family in Phoenix, Arizona where he began the serious study of conducting while still in his teens. He is a graduate in cello performance of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Claus Adam, and of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller. Smith resides in Minneapolis, where his wife, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, is a horn player with the Minnesota Orchestra. They have two sons, Alexander and Noah. More at

Mary received a Bachelor and Master of Music in violin performance from the University of Minnesota, with additional study at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at the Oberlin and Brussels Conservatories. Her violin teachers have included Mary West, Lea Foli, Stephen Clapp and Marilyn McDonald. Widely active as a free-lance violinist, Ms. Sorlie has played with the Lexington Symphony, Minnesota Opera, Minneapolis Chamber Symphony, Lyra Concert and Minnesota Sinfonia. Ms. Sorlie is a frequent guest conductor and string clinician in the Midwest. She currently is a member of WolfGang, a sextet which performs music of the 18th century. She enjoys teaching violin to students of all ages and abilities.  A GTCYS alumna, Ms. Sorlie was recently awarded the 2011 MNSOTA Master Teacher: Studio Award. She resides in St. Paul with her husband Chuck and wonder dog, Lacie.

Amanda Kremer (Sinfonia) is in her ninth year as band director at Valley View Middle School in Edina and has been directing band for 10 years. Originally from Springfield, MO, Ms. Kremer graduated from Missouri State University with a B.S. in Music Education with an emphasis in instrumental, vocal, and piano performance. She performed in various wind ensembles and played horn with the university symphony orchestra. Ms. Kremer also performed regularly with the university’s top choral group and sang for the University’s big band. She currently plays horn in the Minnesota Symphonic Winds and is working on her master’s degree in educational leadership at St. Mary’s University. She has been a highly effective GTCYS sectional coach for a number of years. Ms. Kremer is well known in the music education community and possesses outstanding conducting skills, a dedication to young people, and high energy. She and her husband Nate live in Edina with their dog, Cosmo. 

Dan Mollick grew up in Ohio where he started piano in 2nd grade and cello in 4th grade. In high school, Mr. Mollick played in the Canton Youth Symphony. He went to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in music education. He then earned a master’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mr. Mollick has taught a wide range of ages from elementary to high school. Before teaching in Minnetonka, he taught elementary strings in Minneapolis Public Schools, middle school orchestra in Bloomington Public Schools, and elementary orchestra in Manhattan Beach, California. He currently teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade orchestra at Minnetonka Middle Schools East and West, directs the district middle school honor orchestra, and is a string section coach for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. He is also a member of the cello section in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time, Mr. Mollick enjoys reading historical fiction, traveling, backpacking the Superior Hiking trail, running half marathons, and spoiling his nephews and nieces. He lives in St. Louis Park with his partner, Greg Milliren, who plays flute with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Barbara Flooding currently teaches orchestra at Valley View Middle School in Edina.  Her teaching career began at St. Cloud Apollo High School and North Junior High School, where she directed the Apollo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia, as well as two junior high orchestras.  Under her direction the Apollo Symphony appeared in New York’s Carnegie Hall Youth Debut Music Series and at several conventions of the Minnesota Music Educators Association. While in the St. Cloud area she was a violinist with the St. Cloud Symphony and Amadeus Chamber Symphony.  She presently is a member of the Wayzata Symphony, a Twin Cities based orchestra.  Ms. Flooding holds a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting and a Master’s degree in String Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Flooding and her husband, composer/arranger Robert Sieving, live in Minnetonka.

Dedicated to finding innovative ways to employ his commitment to music education, Benjamin Klemme works to develop partnerships with schools and performers in his community to go beyond his work on the podium. In New Mexico, he helped bring classical music to life for young people through his work with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s “Music In Our Schools” program. He was the founding music department chair at New Mexico School for the Arts, and served as Music director of the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association for four years. Mr. Klemme earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is currently a James Sample Conducting Fellow at the University of Minnesota where he is pursuing the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting; he conducts the University’s Campus Orchestras and serves as an Assistant Conductor of the Opera Theatre. Mr. Klemme lives in White Bear Lake with his wife, violinist Deborah Klemme, and sons Simon and Winston.

Conductor Gary Wolfman (Philharmonic) is a recent transplant to the Twin Cities, where his wife teaches music education at the University of Minnesota. Before arriving in the Twin Cities, Mr. Wolfman was the Music Director for the youth symphony program of the Fox Valley Symphony located in Appleton, WI. For many years, Wolfman taught hundreds of students in the orchestra programs at Appleton North and West High Schools. Orchestras under his direction have performed for 11 state and national music conferences. He has been President of Wisconsin Music Educators Association and North Central Division President of Music Educators National Conference. He graduated with a music education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a graduate degree in orchestral conducting and music education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His outstanding musicianship, teaching skills and high standards will benefit GTCYS students and the organization as a whole, and he looks forward to contributing to GTCYS’ success. He and his wife, Dr. Laura Sindberg, live in Minneapolis with their dog Bettie White.

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