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Professor, Director of Orchestral Activities
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Having conducted and taught on four continents, Dr. Michael Griffith is in his 35th year as Conductor of the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. He has led such orchestras as Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica in Rio de Janeiro, the Shanghai City Symphony in China, Orquestra Sinfônica de Goiânia and Orquestra Sinfônica Jovem de Goiás (Brazil), Orquesta Municipal de El Alto (Bolivia), the New York Repertory Orchestra, and more. Teaching venues have included Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, Shanghai University, Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, the University of London for a consortium of American universities, and pre-concert lectures at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole. Closer to home he’s conducted Boulder’s Colorado Music Festival, the Cheyenne Symphony, Ft. Collins Symphony, Opera Fort Collins, Denver’s Mercury Ensemble, Opera Wyoming, the Powder River Symphony, Longmont Symphony, and Broomfield Symphony. With younger musicians he has conducted All-State and other honors ensembles in Maryland, Colorado, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. He has also been a guest conductor at the University of Cincinnati, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, University of Missouri, University of Delaware, Iowa State University, Pacific Lutheran University, Millikin University, Michigan State University, and the University of Colorado.
He is a past president of the Conductors Guild, a winner of an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and a winner of The American Prize in concert programming. He has conducted 31 world premieres, and his UW Symphony was chosen as one of only three college orchestras to participate in the 2010 Ford Made in America commissioning program. 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. He has conducted performances with renowned guest artists such as Van Cliburn medalist Daniel Hsu, harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, pianist Christopher O’Riley, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and NY Philharmonic Principal Cellist Carter Brey. In 2007 he led the UWSO on a week-long tour of Bolivia, and he conducted the UW Chamber Orchestra at the 2009 All-Northwest convention of the National Association for Music Education.
Dr. Griffith has frequently been lauded for his teaching. He was elected a Top Ten Teacher by two UW graduating classes, led four UW cultural tours of New York City, taught at UW’s Saturday University in Jackson Hole, was nominated for an Ellbogen Teaching Award, and received a “Thumbs-Up” award from the UW Arts & Sciences student council.
Dr. Griffith inherited his musical talent from his 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; 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, plus their Windsong newsletter. 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 and URTA theatres, 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 Director of Bands. He is married with three children, and an avid downhill skier, hiker, and mountain biker.
Get the current Symphony Schedule HERE.