(DUBUQUE) –The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announces that Dr. Michelle Perrin Blair has joined the artistic staff as conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (DSYO), effective immediately. As conductor of the DSYO, Blair is responsible for conducting weekly rehearsals and concerts, recruiting and auditioning young musicians from area schools, and setting the artistic course for the DSYO.
For more than 45 years the DSYO has been an important part of the symphony’s education programs. Today it is an honors orchestra for high school and college students living in the Dubuque area. Students gain experience performing a wide variety of advanced repertoire in a full orchestra setting, receive coaching from professional musicians, and participate in side-by-side activities with the DSO. The DYSO presents three full length programs each school year.
Dr. William Intriligator, Music Director of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, comments: “Dr. Blair brings tremendous energy, numerous ideas, and great experience to this position. We are very fortunate to have found such a talented new conductor for the youth orchestra, and I am sure that she will build on our already successful program, taking the DSYO to ever higher levels of achievement and success.”
“It is an honor to be on this terrific team,” says Blair. ”I cannot wait to start working with the talented young musicians of the DSYO! Many thanks to the DSO and DSYE communities for welcoming me to your music family!”
Blair is the Director of Orchestras at Coe College, and 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. She 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 well known for her work with educational ensembles. While pursuing her doctorate, she 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. Blair has maintained a private violin studio for over a decade and is passionate about coaching chamber music and teaching string technique.
In addition to the DSYO, the DSO’s youth education programs include the Dubuque Youth String Ensemble, the Dubuque Youth Philharmonia, an annual concerto competition, master-classes, side-by-side concerts, coaching sessions, the Adopt a Musician program (which places professional DSO players in residence at thirteen area elementary schools), a summer string camp and chamber music camp, and Arts Trek, which includes seven free, full symphony concerts for thousands of third and fifth graders each year. Additionally, the youth orchestras recently completely an intensive residency with world-class violinist Midori and hosted its first Symphony Day for area middle school string players.