Conductor Bios

Dr. Michelle Perrin Blair

Dr. Michelle Perrin Blair conducts the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra.   As the newest member of the Coe College Music Department faculty, Blair is one of 85 women nationwide to be recognized as a leader in her field with the prestigious 2014 PEO Scholar Award. Blair's other recent honors include the Richard and Nancy Schissler Fellowship in Orchestral Conducting and the Bernard Osher Scholarship (Monteux School). Blair holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Houston, where she studied with Maestro Franz Anton Krager and served as Assistant Director of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble for three years. Blair earned her Master of Music Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington under the tutelage of her lifelong mentor, Dr. Clifton Evans.

Blair is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, and she is well known for her work with educational ensembles. While pursuing her doctorate, Blair split her time as the Conductor of the Houston Youth Symphony Sinfonia and Assistant Director of the St. Agnes Academy/Strake Jesuit College Preparatory Orchestra (Houston, TX). When Blair found herself in schools without orchestras, she built her own programs from scratch, leading her to found and direct the St. Louis String Program (St. Louis Catholic School, Austin, TX) and the String Academy (Arlington Classics Academy, Arlington, TX). Blair has been a regular clinician at both the middle school and high school levels for Linn-Mar High School, Fort Bend ISD, the Lone Star Youth Orchestra, and the Texas region circuit.

Off the podium, Blair is an active violinist, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Southwestern University. In November of 2014, Blair was invited to play in the Leipzig Academic Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary Concert, for which the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite in the Gewandhaus. Blair studied violin under Andrzej Grabiec, Martha Walvoord, Eri Lee Lam, and Rodica Gonzalez. Blair has maintained a private violin studio for over a decade and is passionate about coaching chamber music and teaching string technique. When she is not playing, teaching, or conducting, Blair enjoys reading, arts-and-crafting, and going to concerts. Blair lives in Hiawatha, Iowa, with her husband, Aaron.

Dr. Glenn Pohland

Dr. Glenn Pohland conducts the Dubuque Youth Wind Ensemble. He is currently an associate professor in the communication and fine arts division at Loras College in Dubuque, IA.  Dr. Pohland also conducts Jazz Ensemble and chamber groups, and teaches courses in music education, orchestration, instrumental techniques, music in the movies, and instrumental conducting.  Dr. Pohland received his BA in music education from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, his MMEd from the University of Minnesota, and his DMA in instrumental music education and conducting from Arizona State University. 

Although primarily a euphonium player, Dr. Pohland also plays trombone in area jazz groups, trumpet for weddings and other occasions, and tuba when called on.    He has performed in many local concerts and regularly plays with the pit orchestras for the Grand Opera House and the Rising Star Theatre company in Dubuque. 

Prior to his appointment at Loras, Dr. Pohland was an assistant professor of instrumental music education at the University of MN in Minneapolis and for 24 years served as the director of bands and general music teacher in the Glencoe-Silver Lake, MN School district.    Dr. Pohland has been the recipient of the Superintendant's Award for outstanding leadership to the district, the ASBDA Stansbury award for the outstanding young band director award for the Minnesota Division and has received numerous Distinguished Service awards from IMEA, IBA, MMEA, GMEA, KMEA, and the Westchester Music Conservatory.   He has served as the director for many regional and National Honor Bands and remains active as a clinician in the area of music technology.  He is also an active adjudicator for numerous instrumental contests and clinics in the upper Midwest. 

Andrew Geyssens

Andrew Geyssens conducts the Dubuque Youth Philharmonia, is the Director of Orchestras at Senior High School in Dubuque, Iowa and currently has a private studio at the Northeast Iowa School of Music. Previously, he taught 5-12th grade orchestra in Marshalltown, Iowa.

With an interest in conducting that started in high school, Andrew won the Parks Conducting Scholarship. In addition to conducting the Symphony and Concert Orchestras at Senior High School, Andrew actively conducts musicals including most recently Les Miserables, Curtains, and Peter Pan.

Andrew received a Bachelors of Music with a Teaching Certificate from Western Illinois University where he studied conducting with Matt Thomas and Mike Fansler. He has studied double bass with Alan Henson, Jack Helsey, and Marlene Rosenburg.

Andrew is a member in many professional organizations including the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Iowa String Teachers Association (ISTA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Dubuque Education Association (DEA). He is currently the President-Elect for the Iowa String Teachers Association and has had the privilege of putting together the Annual ISTA Professional Development Conference. For the past seven summers Andrew has been a counselor for the international Music for All Summer Symposium. While there he was Senior Counselor for Orchestra and Jazz.

An active classical and jazz bassist, Andrew performs throughout Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois with groups like Julien Winds, Central Iowa Symphony, River City 6, Quad City Kix Orchestra and with artists like John Fedchock, Jon Faddis, John Clayton, Bepi D’Amato, and Marco Renzi.

Dr. Paul Alan Price-Brenner

Paul Alan Price-Brenner conducts the Dubuque Youth String Ensemble. He can be equally described as a composer, an arranger, an educator, and a performer.  Originally from Brookfield, WI, Price-Brenner began playing the violin at age eight and took up the viola at age twenty-four.  He began composing at age thirteen and became the first student composer to win four consecutive Wisconsin School Music Association composition awards.

As a performer, Price-Brenner currently plays viola for the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, the Clinton Symphony, the La Crosse Symphony, and Kipperton Chamber Music.  He is also the violist, and a founding member, of the Kipperton String Quartet.  Other organizations that Price-Brenner has played for include the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, the Muscatine Symphony, the Ardente String Quartet, and the Spoudaios String Quartet.

As a composer, Price-Brenner has had works performed throughout the Midwest.  He has accepted numerous commissions by local musicians and ensembles, both professional and educational.  While in Chicago, he won the first annual DePaul Chamber Orchestra Composition Contest with his string orchestra composition Sinfonia.  The piece was premiered in May 2004, under the direction of Tom Hall.  Two years later, Sinfonia won yet another performance at the Midwest Composer’s Symposium, hosted by the University of Illinois.  Most recently, and through a competition cosponsored by the Iowa Composer’s Forum, the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Symphony commissioned a new work by Price-Brenner.  This new piece, entitled The Conjuring Wand, was premiered in October 2016.

Price-Brenner is currently an adjunct professor of music at Loras College in Dubuque, IA where he teaches music history, applied violin, applied viola, and applied composition.  Furthermore, he is an adjunct professor of music at Divine Word College in Epworth, IA and the Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, IA.  Price-Brenner also maintains a private violin/viola studio out of his home.

Price-Brenner holds his Bachelor of Music Education (with an emphasis in composition and violin performance) from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, his Masters of Music in Composition (with an emphasis in viola performance) from DePaul University, and his PhD in Music Composition (with an emphasis in viola performance) from the University of Iowa.  His violin and viola teachers include Terry Bjorklund, Tyrone Grieve, Rami Solomonow, Christine Rutledge, and Katherine Wolfe.  His composition instructors include John Downey, Joel Naumann, Stephen Dembski, George Flynn, Kurt Westerberg, Lawrence Fritts, and David Gompper.

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