MARK RUSSELL SMITH, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & SYMPHONY CONDUCTOR
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 Saint 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 Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. A champion of the music of our time, Smith led the Saint 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 www.markrussellsmith.net.
MARY SORLIE, PHILHARMONIA EAST & WEST CONDUCTOR
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 awarded the 2011 MNSOTA Master Teacher: Studio Award. She resides in St. Paul with her husband Chuck and wonder dog, Lacie.
KENT MUSSER, NEW SINFONIA CONDUCTOR
Kent has taught orchestra at Stillwater Junior High School since 2001 and has been an active leader with the district’s renowned music program. His orchestras continue to win numerous awards for their quality and musicianship. Prior to his work in Stillwater, he directed the orchestras at Sandburg Middle School in Anoka. Kent grew up in Des Moines and earned a BA in Cello Performance at Drake University, a BA in Music Education at the University of Minnesota, and an MA in Education at the University of St. Scholastica (Duluth). He also played in the Des Moines Symphony from 1988 – 1992. A resident of Stillwater with his wife and five children, Kent stays busy with his family and teaching. In his free time, he enjoys teaching private cello lessons, playing the guitar, and running a bike rental business in downtown Stillwater.
DAN MOLLICK, CONCERTINO CONDUCTOR
Dan Mollick grew up in Ohio where he started piano in second grade and cello in fourth 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 including Minneapolis Schools, Bloomington Schools, Manhattan Beach Schools, and Minnetonka Schools. He currently teaches orchestra at Valley View Middle School in Edina and is a member of the cello section in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time, Mr. Mollick enjoys reading new blogs and historical fiction, traveling, backpacking, running, and spoiling his nephews and nieces. He lives in St. Louis Park with his rescue pitbull, Sadie, and partner, Greg Milliren, who plays flute with the Minnesota Orchestra.
BARBARA FLOODING, CAMERATA CONDUCTOR
Barbara Flooding recently retired as orchestra teacher 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.
BENJAMIN KLEMME, CONCERT ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR
Benjamin Klemme has an active career as conductor and educator, combining his work as GTCYS’ Concert Orchestra Conductor and Assistant Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. His position in the Quad Cities includes leadership of the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles. Previously, he has held conducting posts at the National Repertory and Cleveland Pops Orchestras, University of Minnesota, Sante Fe Youth Symphony Association, and MacPhail Center for Music. His passion for and commitment to music education is displayed through his work both on and off the podium. In New Mexico, he helped bring classical music to life for elementary and middle school students as Artistic Adviser and Outreach Concert Host for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s “Music In Our Schools” program, and chaired the music department at New Mexico School for the Arts. In Ohio, he co-founded the Scordatura Chamber Orchestra, a Cleveland-based ensemble designed to support learning objectives in language arts, math, science, and social studies through interactive orchestral performances. Dr. Klemme holds degrees from University of Minnesota, Cleveland Institute of Music, and University of Northern Iowa.
GARY WOLFMAN, PHILHARMONIC CONDUCTOR
Conductor Gary Wolfman is in his third year as a conductor with GTCYS. 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, where he was the recipient of the High School Educator of the Year for the school district. 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 continue to 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.