Conductors Guild
Board of Directors

February, 2019

If you are an active member of the Conductors Guild and would like to vote for the upcoming 2020 slate of new board members, please click HERE 


Marc-André Bougie

  • Associate Professor of Music - Texarkana College
  • Music Director & Conductor - Texarkana Regional Chorale
  • Music Director & Organist - Sacred Heart Catholic Church & St. Pius X Catholic Church  

Praised for his captivating performances, visionary musical leadership, and engaging personality, American conductor
Marc-André Bougie is rapidly establishing himself as a highly sought-after conductor in North America and abroad. Among a number of leadership accomplishments, he was the founding Music Director & Conductor of the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, which he directed for twelve seasons. He has also conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de Falcón (Venezuela), Pleven Philharmonic (Bulgaria), Orchestra Cantelli (Italy), Orchestre des Sources (Canada), Shreveport Symphony, Shreveport Opera, Shreveport Chorale, Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet, Texarkana Regional Chorale, Texarkana Youth Symphony Orchestra, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Northwest Louisiana, St. Pius X Choir & Orchestra, the University of Missouri Philharmonic, Contemporary Chamber Players, and University Singers, the Columbia Youth Orchestra, and the Show-Me Opera Studio – a sum of experiences which speaks to the versatility and adaptability of his conducting style.

Maestro Bougie made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 2010. He has collaborated with world-renowned performers such as Zuill Bailey, Jimmy Brière, Michael Brown, Tony DeSare, the Harlem String Quartet, Sharon Isbin, Scott Kirby, Jean-François Normand, Sandi Patty, Jane Redding, Tatiana Roitman Mann, Elena Urioste, Bradley Welch, and many more. In January 2016, he conducted the premiere of the new educational program Dvořáks’ New World, created by Michael Boudewyns and Sara Valentine – and for which Marc-André was the music collaborator. He has also been active working with contemporary American and Canadian composers, and he has commissioned and premiered many new works – most lately Southern Air and Flourish by award-winning composer Clint Needham.

Marc-André is married to soprano Candace Taylor with whom he collaborates as composer, pianist, & conductor. In 2015 they worked on an album featuring one of their new compositions, Ave Maria. He has won the 2001 MTNA National Composition Competition, and holds a Master's Degree in Orchestra Conducting from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition to his conducting engagements, Marc-André teaches at Texarkana College, and he was awarded the Texarkana College 2016 Endowed Chair of Teaching Excellence, and a NISOD Excellence Awards recipient in May 2017 on behalf of Texarkana College. In April of 2018, he conducted the New England Symphonic Ensemble and a number of choruses in F. J. Haydn’s Mariazeller Mass at Carnegie Hall as guest conductor for Mid-America Productions.

His involvement in the advancement of music in the areas of the conducting profession and education is reflected through his work with organizations dedicated to these disciplines. Among others, he is a board member for the Conductors’ Guild, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of the conducting profession. 


Jonathan Caldwellcaldwell-john-uwsp-web

  • Conductor, Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble 
Jonathan Caldwell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Virginia Tech where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches music education and conducting courses. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Dr. Caldwell served as the interim Director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts in wind conducting from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music in instrumental conducting from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Music in horn performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prior to beginning graduate studies, Dr. Caldwell taught at Garner Magnet High School in Garner, North Carolina. As the director of the band program, he oversaw two concert bands and the marching band while also teaching Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. The Triangle Youth Brass Ensemble (Raleigh, NC), under his direction, won the Youth Open division at the 2008 and 2009 North American Brass Band Association competitions.

Dr. Caldwell’s conducting teachers include Michael Haithcock, Michael Votta, Jerry Schwiebert, James Ross, and Tonu Kalam. He has studied horn with Gregory Miller, Kimberly Van Pelt, Andrew McAfee, and Pamela Halverson.

Dr. Caldwell currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Conductors Guild. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Alpha Rho), Tau Beta Sigma (Beta Eta), Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi.


Rubén Caprilesrubem

  • Music Director of the Falcón Symphony Orchestra , Coro, Venezuela

Rubén Capriles starts this 2013- 2014 Season his first season as Music Director of the Falcón Symphony Orchestra in Coro, Venezuela, completing his tenure of two years as President and Music Director of the Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra in Baltimore, Maryland.

Since his arrival to the United States in 2006 in order to pursue his graduate orchestral conducting studies at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Capriles developed a close relationship with the Baltimore musical community, not only as graduate conducting assistant of the Peabody Opera, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and Peabody Concert Orchestra, but also as cover conductor for Maestra Marin Alsop at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and conducting Teacher Associate at the Peabody Preparatory, where Capriles successfully co-conducted the Peabody Youth Orchestra during their first East Cost Tour. Other recent responsibilities have included being the founding Music Director of the Young Musicians Program Youth Orchestra at the University of California, Berkeley, where Capriles worked in close collaboration with internationally renowned artist Frederica von Stade, as well as with prestigious members of the San Francisco Conservatory faculty.

Awarded with the 2010 Bruno Walter Conducting Fellowship as Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Academy, Capriles has had his conducting described by Marin Alsop as “passionate” and “intelligent.” Capriles has been finalist of the First Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition, and of the Sixth Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition. Capriles has been nominated for the Thelma A. Robinson Award of the Conductors Guild as best participant at the 2007 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; has been recipient of the Mabelle Antionette Leonhardtsen del Mar Scholarship of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; and has been awarded with the José Félix Ribas National Order from the Venezuelan government for his contributions to the arts.

Capriles started to conduct professionally at 21 in his native Venezuela as the Music Director of the Zulia Boys Singer Orchestra, and later as the founding Music Director of the Caracas Youth Symphony Orchestra. After his five-year tenure there, the Caracas Youth Symphony Orchestra developed a strong and consistent artistic level, becoming a vital part of Venezuela’s now internationally renowned El Sistema. Dedicated to the distinguished members of the diplomatic body of the country, his debut concert with the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela was immediately broadcast in the Venezuelan national television, with the highest recognition by the critics in attendance. As laureate guest conductor of the Regional Orchestras of Venezuela, Capriles toured extensively around the country, also conducting the Caracas Municipal Symphony Orchestra and the former National Philharmonic Orchestra of Venezuela.  In 2005, Capriles was appointed as Music Director of the Ciudad Guayana Symphony Orchestra, where he developed intensive programming of more than sixty concerts during that season across the expansive Guayana region, obtaining the national recognition of the Federation of Regional Orchestras of Venezuela.

In his recent guest conducting appearance with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Gazette praised Capriles’ conducting as the “most satisfying… His sweeping baton captured the romantic flavor of Berlioz’s composition. Ensemble remained tight and balanced, making for countless musical thrills.”

As a teacher, Capriles has been invited for the second time this year to be the principal instructor in the National Academy for Conductors that is organized by Venezuela’s El Sistema to enhance the preparation of the new generation of conductors from around the country. A strong advocate of young composers of his generation, Capriles has supported and recorded new award-winning orchestral and chamber works at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and at the “Simón Bolívar” Conservatory of Venezuela’s ‘El Sistema.’

Capriles graduated as the top conductor of his generation at the internationally renowned ‘El Sistema,’ where he received his pre-college and undergraduate training in Horn, Theory, Solfège, Composition and Conducting. Before pursuing his graduate studies in Conducting, Capriles performed professionally for two years in the horn sections of the “Simón Bolívar” Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in Caracas, and the Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Capriles completed his MM studies in Conducting at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, and his DMA studies in Conducting at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He holds MBA and MPP degrees from IESA in Caracas, and completed MA readings (Political Science) at Columbia University in New York. His primary conducting teachers have been José Antonio Abreu, Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, Marin Alsop and Helmuth Rilling.


Peter Cokkinias

  • Conductor, Metrowest Symphony Orchestra 

A busy freelance clarinetist and saxophone player, Conductor Peter Cokkinias has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Ballet Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, and in shows at all the major Boston-area theaters. He is a founding member of the Boston Saxophone Quartet and administers their Noteworthy Scholars program, featuring First Night Boston performances of new works by high-school-aged composers.

Maestro Peter Cokkinias conducts the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra, and is equally at home conducting symphony, opera, ballet, and theater orchestras. He has conducted in Massachusetts—including the Boston Pops and Boston Ballet Orchestra—as well as Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Kentucky, New York, Texas, and California. Peter Cokkinias is music director/conductor of the Franklin Performing Arts Center’s annual production of The Nutcracker and occasional musicals.


Mark CrimCrim

  • Assistant Professor of Music, East Texas Baptist University 

Mark Crim has conducted outstanding wind band, orchestral and choral ensembles for over twenty years. A product of the fine school music program in Van, Texas, Mr. Crim studied music education, trumpet and conducting at the University of Texas at Tyler, Stephen F. Austin State University and Boston University. His trumpet teachers were Dr. Max Morely, Dr. Kenneth Muckelroy and Dr. Gary Wurtz. His principal conducting teachers were Melvin Montomery, John Whitwell, Fred J. Allen and Diane Wittry.

As Assistant Professor of Music at East Texas Baptist University, Mr. Crim conducts the Symphonic Band as well as serving as music director and conductor of the University’s opera and musical theatre ensembles. He aslo teaches courses in music education, conducting, orchestration and chamber music. Mr. Crim’s position at ETBU follows a successful career in the Texas public schools.

Mr. Crim stepped down from the Longview Area Youth Orchestras in June, 2014 after four years as Music Director and another eight years in roles including Winds-Percussion Coordinator, Assistant Conductor and Co-Conductor. He held artistic and administrative responsibility for the Longview Area Preparatory Strings (LAPS) and the Longview Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (LAYSO). In addition to quality performances of core orchestral repertoire, the ensembles under his direction collaborated with regional arts organizations including the East Texas Symphonic Band, East Texas Youth Chorus and Artsview Children’s Theater to enrich the area with innovative programming for children’s youth and adult audiences.

A professional church musician since 1990, Mr. Crim has a repertoire of over five hundred choral anthems and masterworks. In his current position at First United Methodist Church in Marshall, Texas he has conducted Handel’s Messiah, Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, Faure’s Requiem and produced a fully staged Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Mark was a 2004 Toyota International Teaching Scholar, spending a summer in Tokyo and Kyoto conducting and teaching and studying Japanese culture and arts. In addition to his Japan residency, Mark has taught, performed and conducted across the United States and abroad in Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany and Ukraine.

Mark lives in Hallsville, Texas with his wife Kaki, a flutist, singer, handbell ringer. Their daughter Katie, a flutist, singer and pianist, attends the Hallsville schools.



Silas Nathaniel Huffhuff

  • U.S. Army Officer and Bandmaster 

SILAS NATHANIEL HUFF is a U.S. Army Officer and Bandmaster, orchestra conductor, composer, and teacher. Maestro Huff has conducted outstanding orchestral, band, choral, opera, ballet, and new music performances for more than a dozen years across the United States and Europe. Maestro Huff has conducted youth, university, and professional ensembles in California, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia. Internationally, he has conducted the L’Orchestre de L’Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne (Aix-en-Provence, France), the Republic of Adegya National Philharmonic Orchestra (Maikop, Russia), the New Symphony Orchestra (Sofia, Bulgaria), and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Zlin, Czech Republic). Maestro Huff is currently the Executive Officer and Associate Conductor of the U.S. Army TRADOC Band, and holds the music directorship of the Astoria Symphony (NYC) is Co-Director of the International Conducting Institute, an organization that trains the world’s next generation of conductors.

A native Texan, Maestro Huff studied classical guitar at Texas State University before moving to Los Angeles where he earned a Master of Music degree in music theory and composition from UCLA. While there, he studied conducting with Maestro Donald Neuen, and upon graduation became a full-time student of orchestral conducting under Dr. Richard Rintoul at California State University in Long Beach. Mr. Huff also spent one year in residence at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik (Germany), six months studying privately in Berlin, and two summers at L’Institut Musical Provence-Aubagne (France). Maestro Huff has attended dozens of workshops led by the world’s finest maestros, including Maestros Kirk Trevor, Gustav Meier, Michael Tilson Thomas, Carl St. Clair, Harold Farberman, and others

In 2001, Maestro Huff was named Conductor of the Year by the California State University system, and he was a semi-finalist in the 2004 Maikop International Conducting Competition (Russia). Maestro Huff’s past positions include conductor of Moscow Ballet’s USA east coast tours, Associate Producer of Opera at the Manhattan School of Music, and Assistant Conductor of the California State University Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Palisades Symphony (CA), and Greenwich Village Orchestra (NY). An avid dance conductor, Maestro Huff has conducted performance with the Fullerton College Ballet Theater (CA), Long Island City Ballet (NYC), Octavia Cup Dance Theatre (NYC), Moscow Ballet, and the Martha Graham Ensemble, with which he conducted Aaron Copland’s complete Appalachian Spring with the original choreography, costumes, and set.

As a composer and advocate of new music, Maestro Huff has also organized and presented concerts of contemporary music in California, Texas, New York, Spain, France, Germany, and Italy, and continues to compose and conduct new music. Hw has conducted dozens of world premieres, including his own. In 2007, he conducted the premiere of his Five Episodes for Cello and Orchestra, and 2009 saw the premiere of his first ballet, Chun Zhi Ge (“Spring Song Festival”), which was performed again in November 2011 in China before a live audience of 50,000 and a television audience of 100 million. In the fall of 2010, Maestro Huff conducted the orchestral premiere of his Four Cowboy Songs.

Maestro Huff loves espresso, bicycling, and his novelist wife Taylor Morris. They live in Newport News, Virginia, with two ornery cats, Tre and Blackie.


David ItkinDavid Itkin

  • Music Director/Conductor, Abilene Philharmonic
  • Director of Orchestral Studies, University of North Texas College of Music
  • Author, “Conducting Concerti”
  • Artistic Director, McCall Summerfest
  • Conductor Laureate, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra





Paul Manz

  • Music Director – North Carolina Chamber Orchestra   
  • Director Emeritus & Founder – Prescott POPS Symphony 

Paul Manz is a native of Phoenix, moving to Prescott, AZ in 1965. Paul received his Bachelor of Music Education and Masters in Orchestral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. He taught orchestra and band for 30 years. He taught music at Yavapai College, Prescott Public Schools and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

Paul has served as principal horn in the Flagstaff Symphony and as assistant principal horn in the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts Orchestra. He served as the principal horn in the Prescott Chamber Orchestra for over 20 years and has extensive experience in both woodwind and brass quintets. He has performed in the pit of numerous Prescott Fine Arts productions, as well as conducting “Mame” and “The Man of La Mancha”. He has also performed in the pit of a number of professional operas and musicals. Paul has shared the stage with Toni Tennille, David Cripps, James D’Leon, Mike Vax, Gary Grafman, Jerry Goldsmith, Roberta Peters, William Warfield, Isola Jones, Eric Ruske, Anastasia Kitruk, Harold Weller, Jeffrey Schindler and others. Additionally, he has served as the Arizona All State French Horn adjudicator. 

Paul is a member of the Conductor’s Guild and is a member of its board of directors. As an alumnus of Northern Arizona University, he has received the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Jeff Ferris Volunteer Award. Paul graduated with honors and was accepted into Phi Kappa Phi. 

In North Carolina, Paul has served as the guest conductor for the New Horizons Band Blast, working with Peter Perret and drawing participants from five eastern states. 

Paul is the founding conductor of the Prescott POPS Symphony and served as its music director from its beginning in 1992 until his retirement in 2015. During this time the ensemble grew from being a community orchestra to a semi-professional regional symphony. 

Paul is currently the Music Director of the North Carolina Chamber Orchestra.


Jon C. Mitchell


  • Professor of Music, University of Massachusetts Boston, Retired
  • Conductor, Chamber Orchestra at University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Conductor, Boston Neo-politan Chamber Orchestra 

Chicago native Jon Ceander Mitchell conducts the Chamber Orchestra at University of Massachusetts Boston, where he is Professor of Music.  He also conducts the Boston Neo-politan Chamber Orchestra. Prior to his 1992 arrival in Boston, he held full-time music faculty positions at University of Georgia, Carnegie Mellon University, and Hanover College.  He also served as music director of the North Pittsburgh Civic Symphony.  In recent years he has done a significant amount of guest conducting with professional and college orchestras throughout Europe and the United States.

His research covers many areas, but is centered mostly on Holst and Beethoven. He has over seventy publications, with five published books including The Braunschweig Scores: Felix Weingartner and Erich Leinsdorf on Beethoven’s First Four Symphonies, A Comprehensive Biography of Composer Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Wind Works, and From Kneller Hall to Hammersmith: The Band Works of Gustav Holst.  His latest “book” is a scholarly edition and realization of the orchestration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in E Flat, WoO4.  He is also editor of the CODA (College orchestra Directors Association) Journal.

He has conducted six CDs with professional orchestras for Centaur Records and Vienna Music Masters and is in the latter stages of recording the cycle of Anton Rubinstein’s piano concertos with pianist Grigorios Zamparas for Centaur.


Dominique Røyem

  • Music Director, Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra
  • Music Director, Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra
  • Director of Orchestras, University of South Alabama

Dominique Røyem is the Music Director of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Orchestra Director at the University of South Alabama.  An active guest conductor, she has worked with ensembles such as the Ukrainian State Orchestra, Plevin Philharmonic, Galveston Symphony, Moores Opera Center, Sugarland Opera, HBU Opera Theatre, and the Houston Civic Orchestra. She was the Resident Conductor for Bayou City Concert Musicals, and Music Director for Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go!  during the 12-13 and 13-14 seasons, and  the Conducting Fellow for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 season.  She serves on the National Board of the Conductors Guild.

She has a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Houston Moores School of Music. Her dissertation, entitled “Generic Integration and Its Expressive Potential in the Music of Kurt Weill and Richard Rodgers,” uses semiotic and genre theory to illuminate the similarities between opera and musical theatre in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Dominique currently lectures at the Women’s Institute of Houston.



Jeffrey Schindler


  • Film Score Conductor 

Conductor Jeffrey Schindler enjoys a dynamic international career that takes him from concert podiums around the world to the scoring stages of Hollywood, to the recording studios of London. Whether leading symphonic works of the Masters, multi-million dollar film scores, or cutting edge contemporary and commercial music, Mr. Schindler’s infectious energy and visionary musical storytelling are hallmarks of every performance. Mr. Schindler’s artistry melds imaginative and illuminating performances with expressive technique, impeccable scholarship, and vibrant energy.

Known as a versatile conductor, Mr. Schindler’s activities include such diverse projects as symphonic recordings, world-premier operas, and contemporary world-music concerts. Engagements include his most recent concert recording, leading the London Symphony Orchestra through the evocative music of celebrated Spanish composer Alfonso Romero, the world premiere of Red Azalea by American composer William Kraft, and a triumphant performance extravaganza Damian Live in Concert from Bucharest before a live audience of 70,000 on the largest outdoor stage ever constructed in Europe. This concert was featured as a PBS television special presentation, and has been nationally broadcast hundreds of times. Mr. Schindler has conducted orchestras and ensembles in the United States, Europe and Australia, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Session Orchestra, the AISOI Symphony Orchestra in Australia, the Czech Philharmonic, the Metro Voices of London, The Choristers of Reigate St. Mary’s (London), and the Bach Choir of London.
Mr. Schindler’s extensive podium experience, efficient rehearsals, and expressive baton technique place him in high demand among film composers who seek the passion and refined artistry he elicits from an orchestra. He leads one of the finest orchestral ensembles in the world: the recording musicians of the Los Angeles studios. International feature film and television projects include X-men: Days of Future Past, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Wolfman, Astroboy, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Temple Grandin, Four Christmases, Bernard and Doris, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Hollywood Homicide, and the most successful documentary of all time: the Academy-Award winning March of the Penguins.

Mr. Schindler is a sought-after orchestrator and arranger, highly regarded for his orchestral knowledge, expert musicianship, and impeccable taste. His more than 250 production credits include 22 Jump Street, Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, Gnomeo and Juliet, Superman Returns, The Invasion, Firewall, Next, as well as orchestrations for Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. Orchestras and ensembles around the world have played Mr. Schindler’s orchestrations and arrangements, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic.

Mr. Schindler’s musical interests and expertise are both substantive and expansive. His extensive background in early music has imbued his approach to music and performance philosophy with a particular sensitivity to style: style of period, nationality, even to the level of the individual composer, as he seeks to feature what is unique in every creative voice. This philosophy has made him invaluable not just to contemporary film, commercial and concert composers, but also guides his insight into the music of previous epochs.

A virtuoso harpsichordist and organist, Mr. Schindler has performed concerts with ensembles nationally, in addition to extensive recitals throughout New England. An early music scholar, he is a consummate accompanist and has performed with the major symphonies of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, improvising from the basso continuo. He has also performed with such early music luminaries as Jaap Schroder, Stanley Ritchie, and Fortunato Arico, as well as with members of Tafelmusik and Aston Magna.

Maestro Schindler approaches teaching and outreach with the same energy and passion that he brings to the podium. He has taught conducting at the world renowned Conductors’ Institutes in Hartford, Connecticut and Varna, Bulgaria, as well as at the Hartt School of Music, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Not only is he in demand as a gifted conducting teacher and coach among established and emerging composers in Hollywood, but also many of his other students have gone on to significant careers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

In every aspect of his diverse career, Mr. Schindler demonstrates his commitment to profound musical communication, technical excellence, versatility, breadth of knowledge and his quest for imaginative and creative musical interaction.


Markand Thakar

A former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Maestro Thakar’s appearances include concerts and a national radio broadcast with that orchestra; as well as concerts with the National, San Antonio, Columbus, Fort Worth, Alabama, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Amarillo, Charlotte, Wichita, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Richmond, Colorado Springs, Greensboro, Illinois, Kalamazoo, Windsor, Flint, Maryland, Ann Arbor, National Gallery, Waterbury, Annapolis, and Florida West Coast symphony orchestras; the Calgary, Louisiana, Long Island, and Ulsan (South Korea) philharmonics; and the Boston Pro Arte, National and Cleveland chamber orchestras; and opera productions with the Baltimore Opera Theater, the Teatro Lirico d’Europa, Opera on the James, and the Duluth Festival Opera. A frequent guest conductor at the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Thakar has appeared with Yo-Yo Ma and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and with Itzhak Perlman and the Boulder Philharmonic, and is a winner of the Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation Award. Familiar to national radio audiences as a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, he has appeared on CBS This Morning and CNN conducting the Colorado Symphony.

With BCO Thakar has recorded three CDs for the Naxos label, including disks of concertos by Classical Era masters Stamitz, Hoffmeister and Pleyel, and music by Jonathan Leshnoff on the American Classics imprint, named to Naxos’ “Best of the Best” list. BCO traveled to China to perform a series of Viennese New Year’s concerts, and recent a performance in New York earned a warm review from the New York Times, which praised the group’s “warmth and substance.” During his 12-year tenure in Duluth, the DSSO saw dramatic growth in both audience and artistic prominence, to what Minnesota Public Radio called “Minnesota’s other great orchestra.” Noted internationally as a pedagogue, his two annual intensive conducting programs with BCO have drawn conductors from five continents. His students have won significant conducting positions across North America and internationally, including music directorships with the Aachen (Germany), Winnipeg, Hartford, Eugene, Charleston, Lubbock, Muncie, Williamsport, Amarillo, Young Musician’s Foundation, Lake Forest, Mid-Atlantic, Sioux City, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Lake Charles, Washington-Idaho, and Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestras; staff conducting positions with the Metropolitan Opera and the orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle, Saint Louis, Portland (OR), Richmond, Winnipeg, Portland (ME), Buffalo, Phoenix, Charlotte, Kansas City, Canton, Winston-Salem, and El Paso; as well as numerous collegiate positions.

Markand Thakar is the author of three seminal books. Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making (Yale University Press, 1990), also issued in Italian and Czech, uses species counterpoint to promote an understanding of how both composer and performer contribute to the experience of musical beauty. Looking for the “Harp” Quartet; An Investigation into Musical Beauty (University of Rochester Press, 2011) is a study of musical beauty from the standpoint of the composer, performer and listener. On the Principles and Practice of Conducting (University of Rochester Press, anticipated 2016) is a manual for conductors at all levels.


Robert Whalen

  • Music Director, SoundLAB Contemporary Ensemble, guest ensemble at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Barnes/Stokowski Festival
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Conductors Guild
    Conductor Robert Whalen is the Music Director of SoundLAB, a Philadelphia-based pioneering contemporary ensemble devoted to immersive, contextual programming of the works of living composers.  Prior to SoundLAB, Robert founded and was Music Director of the Barnes Ensemble at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.  

    Robert was personally selected by Lorin Maazel to serve as his Conducting Fellow at the 2014 Castleton Festival.  He has also served as the Director of the Chamber Orchestra at the University of Chicago and as Assistant Conductor with the WDR Funkhausorchester.  As Conductor of the Contemporary Music Workshop at the University of Minnesota, Robert led numerous regional and world premieres and conducted contemporary masterworks including Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil and Helmut Lachenmann’s Zwei gefühle…Musik mit Leonardo.  

    A passionate advocate for contemporary music, Whalen has collaborated with many leading composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky and Grammy-winning composer Augusta Read Thomas. A native of New York, Whalen earned a BA cum laude from Cornell University, a master’s degree from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.


Conductors Guild

Jan Wilson, Executive Director







Nathaniel F. Parker

  • Editor, Journal of the Conductors Guild
  • Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music, Kennesaw State University 

A talented and dynamic musician, Nathaniel F. Parker is Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at the Kennesaw State University School of Music (Georgia). Dr. Parker is Music Director and Conductor of the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Kennesaw State University Opera Program. He was recently appointed Associate Conductor of the Georgia Symphony and also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra Camerata and Music Director and Conductor of the New England Music Camp Concert Orchestra (Maine). Equally at home working with professionals and training future generations of musicians, Dr. Parker has conducted orchestras in the United States, Peru, Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. His recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), the Connecticut Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra, the GMEA District 12 Middle School Honors Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 9 String Fest; in November he will be the Guest Conductor for the 2016 Fulton County High School Honors Orchestra. An active scholar, Dr. Parker’s writings have been published by the Conductors Guild and the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA). He has presented research at the College Orchestra Directors Association’s national and international conferences and currently serves as Editor of the Journal of the Conductors Guild. In 2015 he received a Citation of Excellence in Teaching from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. 

Prior to his appointment at Kennesaw State, Dr. Parker served as Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Marywood University (Pennsylvania) where he was Music Director and Conductor of the Marywood University Orchestra and taught courses in conducting, instrumental methods, musicology, and analytical techniques. Other previous positions include Assistant Conductor and Production Manager of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), Music Director and Conductor of the Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra, Director of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Community Music School, Graduate Conducting Intern at Michigan State University, Music Director and Conductor of the Mason Orchestral Society’s Community Orchestra and Youth Symphony (Michigan), Assistant Director of Music at Xaverian High School (New York), Conductor of the New Music Festival of Sandusky Orchestra (Ohio), and Graduate Assistant Conductor and Teaching Assistant at Bowling Green State University (Ohio). 

Parker earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University, where his primary instructors were Leon Gregorian and Raphael Jiménez. He earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Emily Freeman Brown; his other conducting mentors include Stephen Osmond, Gary W. Hill, and Timothy Russell. In addition to his training in academia, Dr. Parker participated in numerous conducting master classes and workshops, conducting orchestras under the tutelage of nationally and internationally renowned conductors and conducting pedagogues including Christoph Eschenbach, George Hurst, Arthur Fagen, Markand Thakar, Mark Gibson, David Itkin, Jorge Mester, and Paul Vermel. Parker began his collegiate education at Arizona State University, where he studied bassoon with Jeffrey G. Lyman and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance.

Nat resides in Kennesaw with his wife, Melody, their son, Jacob, and their dog, Sammy.

For more information, please visit


Ira Abrams, Honorary Life Member, Legal Counsel, Retired


  • Instructor on Music Law, Copyright, and Arts Management, Appalachian State University
  • Instructor on Music Law, Copyright, and Arts Management, Florida Atlantic University 

Born May 1, 1942, New York City, New York. Attended Music & Art High School in New York City, Manhattan School of Music (trumpet and music theory). Studied trumpet with renowned teacher Carmine Caruso (NYC). Attended University of Miami (Coral Gables, Florida) on music scholarship. Mr. Abrams received his B.A. degree in Philosophy in 1964 and his Juris Doctor degree in 1967 from the University Of Miami School Of Law. He has worked with creative artists and entities in the entertainment, music, high fashion and publishing industries for many years, including Ralph Lauren/Polo; Gianni Versace; Emilio and Gloria Estefan (for 12 years); Jon Secada; Miami City Ballet; Glen Kolotkin (Producer/Engineer: Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Rolling Stones, et al); Matchbox 20 (mediator); Sony Music Entertainment (mediator); Sony Music Publishing/ATV, Inc. (mediator); Universal Music & Video Distribution Corp. (mediator); Atlantic Recording Corp. (mediator); TV star Cristina Saralegui; members of the Bob Marley family; Irene Cara; Jerry Heller (of Ruthless Records, Dr. Dre fame); salseros Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz; Raul di Blasio; Larry Harlow & Latin Legends; Enrique Iglesias (mediator); Jerry Greenberg; Jordan Knight (New Kids On The Block) (mediator); Led Zeppelin (mediator); Major League Baseball player/manager Warren Cromartie; composer/conductor Alfred Reed; the Conductors Guild ( member of Board of Directors); and other entertainment industry entities, artists, producers, independent record labels, songwriters, managers, publishers, radio and record company executives, high tech companies, photographers and authors. 

Mr. Abrams is a frequent lecturer for the Florida Bar (Continuing Legal Education), and has presented numerous lectures to law students and undergraduates at the University of Miami, Florida State University and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). Mr. Abrams is an adjunct faculty member of Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches Advanced Legal Issues For The Musician (Spring semester) and is an adjunct faculty member of Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, where he teaches Copyright Law, Advanced Music Industry Practices and Arts Management and Promotion classes (Fall semester). Additionally, Mr. Abrams has lectured at the American Bar Association Forum on Mass Communications and is the author of a work entitled “Has the Digital Revolution Killed the Music Business? Problems and Possible Solutions” published in April, 2004. Mr. Abrams has also presented lectures on issues concerning the effect of media consolidation on the music, film and journalism industries.

Mr. Abrams has taught mediation skills to lawyers and others and mediates disputes and cases in the intellectual property and entertainment industries. Mr. Abrams has been called upon to testify as an expert witness in federal copyright and record industry cases on issues of liability, damages and standard industry practices.

Mr. Abrams is an elected member of the prestigious American Law Institute (ALI) and served as a member of the Executive Council of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the Florida Bar. He has been chosen by his peers for listing in the publication “Leading Lawyers of America.”