Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra Announces Finalists in Music Director Search

For Immediate Release

ORLANDO, FL - Following an extensive search, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra is pleased to announce the four finalists in the running for the position of Music Director and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor for the organization. The finalists are Nate Beversluis, Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey, Christopher Thibdeau, and Dr. Robert Yaklich.

The four finalists were chosen by a search committee, comprised of board members with diverse backgrounds, from a group of over 50 talented and qualified candidates from all over the world. Each finalist will rehearse with FSYOs Symphonic Orchestra. These rehearsals are open to the public and will be held on February 22, 2015 and March 1, 2015 from 3:45-5:00 PM at Edgewater High School – 3100 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL 32804.

About the Finalists:

Nate Beversluis: Nate Beversluis is a pianist, conductor and composer/arranger, currently Resident Conductor with Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. He serves as assistant conductor and frequent concerto accompanist to Dmitry Sitkovetsky, as well as Music Director of the flourishing Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra program. He also conducts Greensboro Symphony as a ballet orchestra for local productions. Recent guest conducting engagements include Ohio Southwest Regional Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia, and Orlando Philharmonic. Previously he was Music Director at Elon University, Seaside Music Theatre, University of Central Florida Theater Department, and Associate Artistic Director at Tri-Cities Opera. He holds degrees from Indiana University (Jazz Studies) and the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati (Orchestral Conducting).

Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey: Reviewed by critics as a "dynamic and exciting conductor" whose conducting is "imbued with aplomb, energy, and pathos," Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey is the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and concurrently serves as Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (IA). Previous positions include Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Evansville (IN) and Conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (IN). Dr. Dickey has also held assistant conductor positions with university and professional orchestras in Illinois, Louisiana, and Georgia. He holds doctoral and master's degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, respectively, and further studied conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and numerous workshops and master classes.

Christopher Thibdeau: Christopher Thibdeau has a diverse background as both a cellist and a conductor. Recently appointed the Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Christopher has previously served as the Associate Conductor of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of the Atlanta Music Project Orchestras to name a few. Christopher is also the Assistant Conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra. He is an active cellist, maintaining a private teaching studio as well as performing with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Thibdeau holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Dr. Richard Yaklich: Dr. Richard E. Yaklich, currently serves as an Associate Professor of Music at Florida Memorial University; Former Conductor of the South Florida Youth Symphony (2002-2013) and the former Director of the Jubilate Chamber Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Kingsport Symphony and Music Director of the Kingsport Youth Symphony. He has conducted orchestras throughout the United States and Eastern Europe including the Maikop Philharmonic and the Sochi Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his conducting activities, he is an active cellist and composer and has had works performed by the Colorado Symphony and in Romania. Dr. Yaklich received his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Colorado; his Master's degree in music from Colorado State University and his Doctorate from the University of South Carolina.

FSYO's current music director, Andrew Lane, who served the FSYO as Music Director since 1998 – with a two-year leave between the 2005 and 2007 seasons – will continue to lead the program through FSYO's 58th season ending in May 2015.

About FSYO: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra aims to educate and inspire Central Florida's top young musicians via programs committed to strengthening musical talents and developing appreciation of the arts through classical music. The FSYO, in its 58th Concert Season, comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra and various chamber groups, made up of more than 250 students from nine Central Florida counties, including Orange, Osceola, Lee, Seminole, Brevard, Lake, Highlands, Polk and Volusia. Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Darden Restaurant Foundation; Universal Orlando Foundation; The Central Florida Foundation and United Arts of Central Florida. We thank these groups for their generous support. The FSYO is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit www.fsyo.org | facebook.com/THEFSYO | @fsyo

Meet the Finalists: Nate Beversluis

Nate-BeversluisNate Beversluis is a pianist, conductor and composer/arranger, currently Resident Conductor with Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. In this position he leads a variety of pops and classical concerts as well as creating and leading his own brand of hilariously entertaining children's concerts which reach nearly 50,000 students in North Carolina. He serves as assistant conductor and frequent concerto accompanist to Dmitry Sitkovetsky, as well as Music Director of the flourishing Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra program. Pops and jazz artists he has worked with include Jeff Rupert, John Pizzarelli, Hilary Kole, Franc D'Ambrosio, Nicole Parker, Ali Mauzey, Steve Lippia, Stephen Freeman, Mark McVey, and John Pagano. He also conducts Greensboro Symphony as a ballet orchestra for local productions. Recent guest conducting engagements include Ohio Southwest Regional Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia, and Orlando Philharmonic. He is adjunct faculty at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he teaches conducting and leads the new music ensemble, Present ~ Continuous.

Previously he was Music Director at Elon University, Seaside Music Theatre, University of Central Florida Theater Department, and Associate Artistic Director at Tri-Cities Opera. As a jazz pianist he was a member of several house trios in clubs and restaurants in Central Florida, including Heidi's Jazz Club in Cocoa Beach, where he played with Stan Soloko, Johnny Powers, Rabbit Simmons, Annie Sellick, and Simone Kopmajer.

His interests as a composer involve combining jazz and classical musicians and his music has won awards from ASCAP and BMI. He holds degrees from Indiana University (Jazz Studies) and the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati (Orchestral Conducting). He was twice a composition fellow at the Henry Mancini Institute. His teachers include Phil DeGreg, Lynne Arriale, Mike Lucas and Luke Gillespie (piano), Michael Schelle and Jack Smalley (composition), and Mark Gibson, Xian Zhang, and Karla Lemon (conducting).

Meet the Finalists: Christopher Thibdeau

CT HS CLRChristopher Thibdeau has a diverse background as both a cellist and a conductor. Recently appointed the Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Christopher has previously served as the Associate Conductor of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, Cover Conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of the Atlanta Music Project Orchestras, a US based El Sistema program. Besides his duties with MYSO, Christopher is the Assistant Conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra. He is also adjunct cello faculty in Clayton State University's Division of Music and serves as the Conductor of the Atlanta Chamber Music Festival. He is an active cellist, maintaining a private teaching studio as well as performing with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Most recently Mr. Thibdeau has been invited to perform as solo cellist with the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra for their 25th in Spivey Hall.

As an educator, Christopher has presented workshops and educational concerts in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and other areas across the US. He has been a panel speaker at the 2007 Connecticut State Music Teachers Association State Convention and featured as a guest speaker and moderator for the Eastman School of Music "Polyphonic.org" webinar series.

Christopher has participated in many conducting workshops and seminars, including the Conductors Retreat at Medomak under the direction of Kenneth Kiesler, the New England Conservatory Summer Institute where he studied under Frank Battisti and Charles Peltz, and the International Conducting Institute with the Round Rock Symphony under Maestro Peter Bay.

Mr. Thibdeau holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music where he studied cello with Alan Harris and orchestral conducting with Neil Varon and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Carl Topilow.

Meet the Finalists: Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey

Photo 1 - Dr. Thomas Taylor DickeyReviewed by critics as a "dynamic and exciting conductor" whose conducting is "imbued with aplomb, energy, and pathos," Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey is the Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he guides all aspects of the orchestra program and teaches conducting and music history courses. He concurrently serves as Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (IA). Previous positions include Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Evansville (IN) and Conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (IN). Dr. Dickey has also held assistant conductor positions with university and professional orchestras in Illinois, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Dr. Dickey has conducted many distinguished orchestras throughout North America and Europe, including the Bakersfield, Hofstra, Lamont, Macon, Norwalk, Rapides, and Washburn symphonies; the Naples Philharmonic; Rose City Chamber Orchestra; Chicago Reading Orchestra; Bacau Philharmonic in Romania; and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Canada. He has also worked with numerous conservatory, university, and youth orchestras in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A native of Illinois, Dr. Dickey began piano studies at the age of four. He holds doctoral and master's degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, respectively, and graduated with highest honors from Eastern Illinois University, where he received the Excellence in Fine Arts scholarship. He has worked with conductors such as Carl Topilow, Christopher Zimmerman, Daniel Lewis, and Diane Wittry, and further studied conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and numerous workshops and master classes.

Meet the Finalists: Dr. Richard Yaklich


yaklichDr. Richard E. Yaklich, currently serves as an Associate Professor of Music at Florida Memorial University; Former Conductor of the South Florida Youth Symphony (2002-2013) and the former Director of the Jubilate Chamber Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Kingsport Symphony and Music Director of the Kingsport Youth Symphony.

He has conducted orchestras throughout the United States and Eastern Europe including the Maikop Philharmonic and the Sochi Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Yaklich has conducted the Alhambra Orchestra of Miami, FL on several occasions. Dr. Yaklich is also a certified orchestra adjudicator for the Florida Orchestra Association and has adjudicated orchestra festivals throughout the state of Florida. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center where studied conducting with such musical notables as  Gustav Meier, Charles Dutoit, Leon Fleisher, Maurice Abravanel, and Seiji Ozawa.  While studying at the Conductor's Institute in 1993, he had master classes with Donald Portnoy, Samuel Jones, Larry Newland, and Paul Vermal.

In addition to his conducting activities, he is an active cellist and composer and has had works performed by the Colorado Symphony and in Romania.  His composition, "Theme and Variations for Orchestra" was performed by the South Florida Youth Orchestra in January of 2003, and "In Memorium" was given its world primer at the University of Miami in 2007. A winner of the Walter Charles Conducting Fellowship, Colorado Arts and Humanities Grant and the Allied Arts, Inc. grant, he has also been listed in "Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities."  A member of the Gustav Mahler Society, American Symphony Orchestra League and the Conductor's Guild, he has published book on orchestra repertoire, "An Orchestra Conductors Guide to Repertoire and Programming" (Mellen Press, 2003). A text book on music form and analysis "Music Form and Historical Concepts" (Linus Publications, 2010). A book on the orchestral score markings of Eugene Ormandy is forth coming in 2016. Dr. Yaklich received his bachelor's degree in 1989 from the University of Southern Colorado; his Master's degree in music from Colorado State University and his Doctorate in 1996 the University of South Carolina.  Dr. Yaklich is now Director of Assessment at Florida Memorial University.

He is a native of Pueblo, CO and grew up playing cello, first in the Pueblo Youth Symphony and latter with the Pueblo Symphony, Mozart Chamber Orchestra and Pueblo Jazz Orchestra. He is an avid reader of history and Russian novels, he collects classical music CDs and scores.