Diego Piedra is the newly appointed Music Director and Conductor of Spectrum Orchestra. A strongly driven performer and educator, while in Costa Rica Dr. Piedra was in high demand as the orchestral conducting professor at the University of Costa Rica, as well as a guest teacher and performer in Venezuela, Honduras and Guatemala. For the last five summers, Dr. Piedra has been the featured guest artist at the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s Summer String Camp, working as a conductor, violinist and composer. Professional conducting engagements have included the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, the Municipal Orchestra of Cartago, the University of Costa Rica Symphony Orchestra and University of Toledo Symphony Orchestra. As a professional violinist he has been a member of the prestigious New World Symphony in Miami, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica and Concertmaster of the Orquesta de Cámara de Costa Rica. Dr. Piedra participated as violinist and assistant conductor in the tour of the University Symphony Orchestra of the University of Michigan (winner of four Grammy awards in 2006), which culminated at Carnegie Hall, New York. While in Costa Rica, he founded the national youth orchestra called Manuel María Gutiérrez at SINEM (the Costa Rican version of Venezuela’s El Sistema), and was its Music Director and Conductor from 2009-2011. Working at SINEM, Dr. Piedra was Music Director of Orquesta A in Pavas as well as in charge of overseeing the development of orchestras through the country. He taught violin and viola lessons and initiated several orchestra at low-income, underprivileged and at times dangerous zones. After leaving SINEM, Dr. Piedra’s achievements and life-changing efforts are still present, as his students and programs keep growing and advancing. At Michigan he was the Music Director of The Campus Symphony Orchestra and the Campus Philharmonia Orchestra, and he conducted two full opera productions and numerous symphonic concerts. In the summer of 2017 Dr. Piedra was awarded with an honorary mention at a conducting competition in London, England. Dr. Piedra will serve as Visiting Assistant Professor for the winter semester at Luther College in 2019.
Dr. Piedra holds a DMA in Orchestral Conducting and two Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Maria and daughter Clara.
Violinist Carol Carlson is an avid performer, a devoted teacher, and a successful creative arts entrepreneur. Carol is Executive Director/co-founder of Music con Brio, Inc., which provides affordable, high quality music lessons to culturally and socioeconomically diverse students from first through twelfth grade. She teaches strings at Clarke University, and maintains private studios in Madison and Dubuque. She performs as a member of the Pecatonica String Quartet and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. She is very active in the DSO’s music education programs, teaching in the Adopt-a-Musician program and the Summer String and Chamber Music Camps.
Carol has been a featured performer with Madison Ballet, the UW-Madison Dance Department, and Li Chiao-Ping Dance. In 2012, Carol was co-presenter of UW Dance Department Faculty concert Facets with choreographer Marlene Skog. There she gave the premiere performance of her composition commission, a collaborative work entitled Rock Paper Scissors. At Facets, Carol also performed her compositions Village (2012) and The Swan (2010). The Madison Isthmus stated, “[Village] is sexy and strong … musician and composer Carol Carlson is an ideal collaborator”. Carol can be seen performing on PBS in “Ethan Bortnick: The Power of Music”, and heard on country music radio nationwide playing fiddle with Mitch Goudy, named one of the Country Music Association’s “Who New to Watch For 2014”.
Carol holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from UW-Madison where she studied with Professor Felicia Moye, whom she also served as teaching assistant. Additionally, Carol holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Truman State University, and a Graduate Certificate from Park University. Carol is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Carol lives in Madison with her husband Matt, a trombonist, and their daughter Julianna.
Christina Mixemong completed her doctoral coursework in Viola Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa, where she studied viola with Prof. Christine Rutledge and violin with Prof. Katherine Wolfe. She previously studied violin and viola with Jon and Lynne Rumney in Minot, North Dakota while a student at Minot State University. Christina has held positions with the Minot Symphony Orchestra, Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, and the Western Plains Opera Company. She has served as the Principal Viola with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra since 2007, and has been a faculty member at the DSO’s Summer String Camp and Chamber Camp at Clarke University in Dubuque since it began in 2014. Part of the education mission of the Dubuque Symphony, the camps attract students from all of Eastern Iowa, Wisconsin, and even as far away as Kansas City. In addition to her other duties with the DSO, Christina is part of their Adopt a Musician Program. 5 times a school year she works with 4th graders at Marshall Elementary. In 2018 they wrote a song together, which you can check out on You Tube; just search for “Purple Flowers”. Christina was an Applied Music Associate in viola at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa from 2007-2012, where her duties included teaching viola and violin lessons to both music majors and non-majors. She also enjoys an active career as a freelance violinist and violist throughout eastern Iowa. Christina is very dedicated to private studio teaching, and has over 20 years experience teaching students from ages 3-adult. She has had students in the Kennedy Honor Orchestra in Cedar Rapids, IMEA Middle School Honor Orchestra, and Iowa All State Orchestra. In 2017 Christina, together with colleague Christina Gentzsch, launched an annual All State Bootcamp. Each August area high school students come to get a jump start on audition preparation.
Christina Gentzsch is an active performing cellist and pedagogue. She performs with several ensembles around Iowa including Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Ottumwa Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, City Circle Theater Company, and Iowa City Community Theater. Throughout her career, Christina has enjoyed chamber music and working with several different ensembles. She is a founding member of the Accipiter Quartet and is cellist for the Panamerican String Quintet. She has performed and worked with several well-known artists including Taylor Mac, The Kronos Quartet, and Rod Stewart.
Christina is a graduate from the University of Iowa with a Master of Arts degree in cello performance and Washburn University with a Bachelor or Music in cello performance. Christina has been instructing music for the past 15 years. She enjoys teaching private lessons as well as coaching chamber groups. She is the cello instructor at Iowa Wesleyan University and maintains a private teaching studio in the corridor area. She is also on faculty at the Dubuque Symphony String Camp and Chamber Camp at Clarke University. She has taught at all-state workshops in both Iowa and Kansas. In 2017 Christina, together with colleague Christina Mixemong, launched an annual All-State Bootcamp. Each August area high school students come to get a jump start on audition preparation.
Stephen Reichelt is a Chicago area bassist and music educator. He received his Bachelors in Music Performance on double bass from DePaul University in 2000. Since then he has become a member of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Beloit/Janesville Symphony Orchestra, and is principal bass of the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra. He performs with the Peoria Symphony, Quad City Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Rockford Symphony, sat principal bass of the City Wide Symphony of Chicago, as well as performing regularly with the Chicago swing band Bopology. Also an accomplished electric bass player, Stephen performs with his original rock band, Lost Dog (bass and vocalist), as well as many other freelance engagements. Mr. Reichelt is an in-demand studio musician making many recordings in Chicago and Nashville including national television and radio appearances.
In addition to maintaining a successful private teaching studio, Mr. Reichelt received his Illinois Music Educator Teaching License from North Eastern Illinois University in 2012 and is the director of orchestra at Westminster School in Elgin, IL. He also teaches at the Roselle School of Music, Cassandra Strings in Algonquin IL, is a frequent guest clinician in schools in the Chicago land area, and resident sectional coach with the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra. He is also very proud to be part of the Dubuque Symphony's "Adopt a Musician" program.