Artistic Director Carter Simmons has worked with the musicians of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) since 1992. He was named Distinguished Citizen-Professional in the Arts by the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee and recognized by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for “distinguished contributions to music education in Wisconsin.” He leads an artistic staff of 50 professionals who teach musicians in over 25 ensembles making MYSO the largest after-school youth orchestra in the nation. During his association, MYSO has grown to serve 6,000 students and risen in national prominence including recognition as an awardee of the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award , the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs.
Mr. Simmons also serves as Music Director of MYSO’s Chamber Orchestra and Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. His programs feature composers such as Adams, Copland, Debussy, Ginastera, Harbison, Higdon, Mahler, Ravel, and Theofanidis, and provide opportunities to perform earlier works of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, W.A. Mozart, and Schubert among others. His programming reflects a belief that young musicians seek challenge, that they should be led to experience the highest form of music making, and that their performances tell a story that is both important and compelling.
Mr. Simmons’ training included work at Interlochen, the Eastern Music Festival, and lessons at the Tanglewood Music Center. A finalist of the National Conducting Institute of the National Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, he participated in seminars conducting the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. His degrees are in horn and vocal performance, and in instrumental conducting. He was the first undergraduate to conduct the UNCG Wind Ensemble before his appointment as Assistant Conductor of the UWM Youth Wind Ensemble. He is indebted to his teachers Dr. John Locke, Robert Gutter, Larry Rachleff, and Thomas L. Dvorak and grateful for classes by Elizabeth Green, John Downey, Leon Fleischer, Gustav Meier, and Frederick Fennell.
Mr. Simmons is Music Director of Milwaukee’s Festival City Symphony and has been invited to conduct for the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Starry Nights Orchestra featuring artists of Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera, and the Wisconsin Philharmonic.
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