DCO Finalist Diego Piedra to Conduct Nov. 4 Concert

Dexter is a small town with huge talent. Of the many artistic expressions we enjoy, few can rival the commitment, flair, and professionalism of the Dexter Community Orchestra.

It is an exciting time for the DCO as they search for a new conductor. The Orchestra rotates conductors every few years to vary the group’s culture with fresh ideas and experience. These maestros have an extensive resume in classical musical performance and orchestral conducting.

The search for DCO’s next conductor started months ago and has been narrowed down to three finalists who will each, in turn, select the programming and conducting a concert this season. (The exception being the December holiday concert, which is traditionally performed with the high school orchestra, with director Matt Deloria conducting this year.)

The DCO’s Nov. 4 concert will be conducted by Diego Piedra. Dr. Piedra is a violinist and recently received his DMA in orchestral conducting from U-M. He is currently the Music Director of Spectrum Orchestra. (More about the concert and Dr. Piedra’s exhaustive resume below).

The February 24 concert will be conducted by David Schultz. Dr. Schultz is a viola player and received his DMA in orchestral conducting from MSU. He is currently the Music Director of the Livingston Symphony, the Jackson Youth Symphony, and the Ann Arbor Comic Opera.

The April 28 concert will be conducted by Michael Hopkins. Dr. Hopkins is a bassist and received his DMA in music education from U-M. Among his other duties, he is the chair of the Music Education Department at U-M and is very active in the realm of string education and pedagogy. He is also an active clinician and guest conductor around the country. Before moving to Michigan, he was the founder and Music Director of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra in Vermont.

For the Nov. 4 concert, Dr. Diego will be conducting Elgar’s Enigma, as well as complimentary works by Brahm’s and Schumann.

Diego Piedra is a strongly driven performer and educator. Prior to his return to the United States, Diego was on 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, Mr. 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 a 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.

His university studies were completed at Baylor University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree with honors, and at the University of Michigan, where he received Master’s degrees in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting. He studied violin with Bruce Berg and Yehonatan Berick and conducting with Kenneth Kiesler.

His participation in master classes on conducting and violin have included world class performers such as Sir Simon Rattle, Carl St. Clair, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Giancarlo Guerrero, Guarneri String Quartet, Florestan Trio, and Andrew Manze. He has conducted two full opera productions and numerous symphonic concerts in Ann Arbor.

In the summer of 2017 Dr. Piedra was awarded with an honorary mention at a conducting competition in London, England. Currently, Dr. Piedra is the Music Director and Conductor of Spectrum Orchestra.

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