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Department of Music|College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Michael Griffith
Professor
Director of Orchestral Activities

"Conducted brilliantly and sensitively"

Cleveland News

"A conductor of grace and precision"

Boulder Daily Camera

"Led the orchestra with great sureness and clarity"

Estes Park Trial Gazette

"Audience rose for a prolonged standing ovation"

Ellesworth (Maine) American   

Now in his twenty-fifth year as Music Director of the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, Michael Griffith brings to his concerts a wealth of experience and a wide repertoire, ranging from the early Baroque to twenty-two world premieres. Guest conducting engagements have ranged from New York’s Times Square and Orquestra Petrobras Pro Musica in Rio de Janeiro to orchestras along the Front Range of the Rockies: Denver’s Mercury Ensemble, the Ft. Collins Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Opera Fort Collins, Boulder’s Colorado Music Festival, Longmont Symphony, Powder River Symphony, and Broomfield Symphony. His Canadian concert venues have included Toronto, London, Sudbury, and North Bay, and in 2007 he led the UW Symphony in a week-long concert tour of Bolivia. With younger musicians has conducted All-State and other honors ensembles and clinics from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains and in China and Canada as well.

Dr. Griffith is a past president of the Conductors Guild, a winner of a 2005 ASCAP/American Symphony Orchestra League Award for Adventurous Programming, and was a finalist for the 2011 American Prize in concert programming. Given that, it is no surprise that his UW Symphony was chosen as one of only three collegiate orchestras to participate in the 2010 Ford Made in America program. His teaching has been recognized by his being selected for 2012 visiting professorships at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Shanghai University,  his twice being elected a Top Ten Teacher (by the UW A&S graduating classes of 2006 and 2012), his being selected to teach the 2008 UW London Semester and three UW Winter Session cultural tours of New York City, his nomination for an Ellbogen Teaching Award, and his “Thumbs-Up” award from the UW Arts & Sciences student council for his “outstanding positive contributions” to the university.  The soundtrack he conducted for Wyoming Public Television’s Wyoming Voices won a Gold Aurora award. He conducted the UW Chamber Orchestra at the 2009 All-Northwest convention of the Music Educators National Conference, and has conducted performances with renowned guest artists such as the late harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, pianist Christopher O’Riley, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, cellist Carter Brey, and violinist Benny Kim. Broadcast performances include the Nigerian Broadcasting Company, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Minnesota Public Radio, Nebraska Public Radio, University of Illinois Public Radio, KUSF San Francisco, Wyoming Public Television, and Wyoming Public Radio. 

Dr. Griffith inherited his musical talent from his paternal grandmother Rose Brandt, a leading soprano in the Vienna Folksoper early in the 20th century. He grew up in Cleveland, where he studied oboe with Harvey McGuire and Robert Zupnic of The Cleveland Orchestra. His conducting teachers were Charles Bruck at the world-renowned Pierre Monteux School in Maine; Kenneth Bloomquist and Dennis Burkh at Michigan State University; and Giora Bernstein at the University of Colorado, where he earned his doctorate. 

Dr. Griffith is a published composer and ASCAP member, and has contributed to the Conductors' Guild Journal, its Podium Notes Newsletter and New Music Panels, and to conferences of the College Music Society and the Wyoming Music Educators’ Association. He has also been a guest conductor at the University of Cincinnati, the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, University of Missouri, Iowa State University, Pacific Lutheran University, Millikin University, Michigan State University, and the University of Colorado. Equally at home in the orchestra pit as on the concert stage, Dr. Griffith has conducted operas, ballets, operettas, and musical comedies in Equity summer stock, URTA, and many other venues throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states.  For ten years he was on the faculty of Michigan Tech University, serving as conductor of their Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and as Director of Bands.  

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