Faculty

Larry Rachleff

Larry RachleffLarry Rachleff is Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestral Conducting and Music Director of the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Mr. Rachleff also serves as Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic; he has also been Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony.
 
A take-charge maestro who invests everything he conducts with deep musical understanding” (Chicago Tribune), Mr. Rachleff is in constant demand as a guest conductor. Recent and upcoming engagements include the Utah Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic and Toledo Symphony among many others. Summer festival engagements include Tanglewood, Aspen, Interlochen, Chautauqua, Brevard Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy and the Grand Teton Music Festival. In 1993, he was selected as one of four American conductors to lead the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the mentorship of Pierre Boulez.
 
Mr. Rachleff is especially noted for his rich and productive rapport with orchestra musicians. The Salt Lake Deseret News had this to say about him recently: “His interpretation (Prokofief’s Fifth Symphony) was charged with power and passion that never waned. His reading was compelling, yet he also managed to bring out the lyricism that lies hidden beneath the boldness of the themes. What was especially remarkable, he conducted the work from memory. The orchestra played marvelously. The musicians were at the top of their game, and their rapport with Rachleff was obvious. It was a fabulous collaboration between orchestra and conductor
 
A former faculty member of Oberlin Conservatory, where he was Music Director of Orchestras and Conductor of the Contemporary Ensemble, he also served as conductor of the Opera Theatre at the University of Southern California. He has conducted and presented masterclasses all over the world, including the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, the Zurich Hochschule, the Sydney and Queensland, Australia conservatories, the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, and Royal Northern College in the U.K.
 
Larry Rachleff is an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education. He has conducted All-State orchestras and festivals in virtually every state in the United States as well as throughout Europe and Canada. He has also served as principal conducting teacher for the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Conductors’ Guild and the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF).
 
As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Rachleff has collaborated with leading composers including Samuel Adler, the late Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Michael Daugherty and John Harbison among others.

Larry Rachleff lives in Houston with his wife, soprano Susan Lorette Dunn, and their young son, Sam.

Donald Schleicher

Donald Schleicher

Now celebrating his 23rdseason as Music Director and Conductor of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, American conductor Donald Schleicher has also served as Music Director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and as Music Director and Principal Conductor/Artistic Director for the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

Schleicher has conducted the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, the Guiyang (China) Symphony, the Gwangju (South Korea) Symphony, the Inchon (South Korea) Philharmonic, the Daegu (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM of Mexico City, the South Dakota Symphony, and the orchestras of Bridgeport, Tallahassee, and Lansing. He has also appeared as a guest conductor at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. In 2015, he returned to the PMMF to lead the festival’s 25th Anniversary Season by conducting their production of “The Barber of Seville” as well as leading the PMMF Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s monumental “Symphony No. 9.”  In 2016, he guest conducted the Nairobi Orchestra in Kenya. 

He is frequently invited to lead performances or provide conducting master classes at many of the countries major music schools such as the University of Colorado, the University of Texas, Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Baylor University, University of Minnesota, Ithaca College, Ohio State University, the University of Missouri, and Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. As an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Mr. Schleicher has conducted All-State orchestras, festivals, and youth orchestras in nearly every state of the United States. He is also active as a clinician for public school music educators.

As a conducting professor, Mr. Schleicher’s class at Illinois is an international draw for talented young conductors. Many of his former conducting students have gone on to hold prestigious positions with organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, Richmond Philharmonic, and the University of Chicago. Schleicher has taught conducting in Europe every summer for the past ten years having served as the lead teacher for the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF). In addition, he has led workshops for the International Conducting Institute in Kromeriz, Czech Republic, the New York Conducting Institute, the Ithaca College International Conducting Workshop, and Conducting Master Class and Workshop Series in Chicago.

As a dedicated advocate of contemporary music, Donald has collaborated with leading composers including Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, and Frank Ticheli among many others. In December of 2014, his collaboration with Augusta Read Thomas led to a recording project of her works now available on Nimbus Records.

Susan Dunn

Susan Lorette DunnAustralian Soprano, Susan Lorette Dunn studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, Queensland, graduating with both a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Graduate Diploma Degree of Opera. Miss Dunn has performed regularly with both Opera Australia and Opera Queensland. Roles in her repertoire include Tzietel - Fiddler On The Roof, Frasquita – Carmen, Mabel- Pirates of Penzance Lola-Cavalleria Rusticana, Dorabella-Cosi Fan Tutte, Dido-Dido and Aeneas, Earth-The Eighth Wonder, Musetta-La Boheme, Valencienne-The Merry Widow, Mlle Dangeville-Adriana Lecouvreur,Stephano-Romeo and Juliet, Cornelia- Damascus,Laetitia -The Old Maid and the Thief, Lucy-The Beggars Opera, Catherine-Seeking True South, and The Water Nymph-The Golden Axe.
 
Miss Dunn has performed and recorded as soloist with ABC Australia and with many of Australia’s major orchestras. Since moving to the USA in 2002 Miss Dunn has sung concert performances with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Chicago Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, El Paso Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Camerata of San Antonio, and the Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. Miss Dunn has performed regularly as a soloist in many of America’s major summer music festivals including the Grand Teton Music FestivalConnecticut’s Summer Music Festival, Interlochen Music Festival, Sunflower Music Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, the Chautauqua Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival and the International Conductor’s Workshop in the Czech Republic. Miss Dunn has premiered Australian vocal works in concert both nationally and internationally, and has recorded Australian composition for EMI/ Jade. Composers -David Heuser, Betty Beath, Stephen Lalor, David Hush and Paul Keelan have written for her.
 
Miss Dunn has won many major Australian singing competitions including the State and Commonwealth Finals of the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition, an Opera Foundation Scholarship for study in Israel, an Australia Council Grant for study in the UK, an Arts Queensland Personal Development Grant, and in 2000, a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship where she worked with the New York Festival of Song in New York City. As a result of her Churchill Fellowship, Miss Dunn performs a series of concerts at The Shepherd School of Music, dedicated to the revitalization and re-invention of the song recital. Concerts in this series include ‘A Little Bit In Love’,’Dream With Me’, ‘The Golden Age of Operetta’, and this year, ‘An International Café’ (Melbourne, Australia), and ‘Musical Chameleons’.
 
Miss Dunn’s other international performances include the British premiere of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene in London’s West End, a tour of Pirates of Penzance – The Ballet, an American Music Theatre Gala in Tel – Aviv, Israel and Bernstein on Broadway for Leonard Bernstein – An 80th Anniversary Celebration. Miss Dunn has performed major roles throughout Australia in Musical Theatre, which include Leonard Bernstein’s MassAspects of Love (The Really Useful Company), Baby (Queensland Theatre Company), Nunsense II (Mixed Company), Lucky Me (Tropic Line Theatre Company), Into The Woods (Opera Australia), A Little Night Music (Sydney Theatre Company)and Kiss Me Kate (Andrew McKinnon Concert Productions) where she was also featured as a dancer. Additionally, Miss Dunn has both produced and performed as a soloist in concert performances of Aspects of Romance, Broadway ShowstoppersNo Tune like a Show Tune and LeadingLadies. She has also produced and performed in Bernstein on Broadway, a show she conceived for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
 
Susan Lorette Dunn has been instrumental as an educator as well as maintaining her full-time performing career. In Brisbane, Australia she held positions as Lecturer at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Queensland University of Technology, where she also devised programs in music theatre skills. Since 2002, Miss Dunn has had the title of Artist Teacher of Voice within the Voice and Opera Faculty of the prestigious Shepherd School of MusicRice University. Miss Dunn has also served on the faculty of the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, The Brevard Music Festival, The Sarasota Music Festival, and The International Conducting Workshop and Festival. She has taught master classes at the Aspen Music FestivalMusic Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, and The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Australia. She recently created The St. Francis School of Music: A Co-curricular Vocal and Instrumental Program, for St. Francis Episcopal Day School, in Houston, Texas.
 
Susan Lorette Dunn currently lives in Houston with her husband, conductor, Larry Rachleff, and son, Sammy.

Taras Krysa

Taras Krysa

The Ukrainian-born, American conductor Taras Krysa has a well-established reputation for innovative and inspiring music-making and leadership throughout the United States and Europe. Taras Krysa is currently serving as the Director of Orchestras at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Music Director and Conductor of the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to these appointments, Maestro Krysa has been guest conductor with several orchestras including the Las Vegas Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony, Moscow Soloists, Slovak Sinfonietta, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Kiev Chamber Orchestra, Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others. In addition, Maestro Krysa led the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra on several European and Southeast Asia tours including appearances at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Hall. More recently, Maestro-Krysa concluded his ninth season as the Artistic and Music Director of the Henderson Symphony Orchestra in Nevada. Under his leadership, the ensemble has seen its audience expand ten-fold and its concerts recognized as a treasured part of the cultural life of the greater Las Vegas community.

Mr. Krysa actively promotes new music and has made three critically acclaimed recordings for the Brilliant Classics label. An accomplished violinist, Taras Krysa was a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony Orchestra, and continues to maintain an active career performing chamber music.

Taras Krysa was born in Kiev into a dynasty of professional musicians. His father, Oleh Krysa, is a prominent concert violinist. His mother, Tatiana Tchekina, was as concert pianist, and his grandfather, Pavel Tchekin, was a tenor at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Mr. Krysa attended the Gnesin School of Music in Moscow before emigrating with his family to the United States 1989 where he continued his studies in conducting  and violin  at Indiana University and Northwestern University with Victor Yampolsky and Nelli Shkolnikova. Mr. Krysa was recipient of fellowship the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Music Festival, where he studied with Jorma Panula and David Zinman.

Benjamin Loeb

Benjamin LoebBenjamin Loeb is an, accomplished soloist, accompanist, conductor, arranger, educator, arts administrator and entrepreneur. His piano performances have been heralded by the Boston Globe: “[his] vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership, plus competition, plus mutual quest, etc. that [makes] this music live.” In May 2015, he performed Morton Gould’s Interplay with the Boston Pops Orchestra at the invitation and under the direction of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. He has also collaborated as concerto soloist with many other conductors including JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, and Rossen Milanov. His widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner Symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of Italian 16th century madrigalists to tours with popular rock musicians to world premieres of the most cutting-edge avant-garde contemporary music.

At the invitation of United States Department of State, Loeb toured Argentina and Uruguay as an Artistic Ambassador, performing recitals of the music of Scott Joplin and giving master classes and workshops with youth orchestras and young musicians. He has recorded for Naxos (both as soloist and collaborative pianist), CBC and the DSCLabel. He holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Conducting, as a student of Gustav Meier, a Master in Music from the Curtis Institute and a Doctor in Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in Accompanying and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.

Most recently, Benjamin Loeb served as the Executive Director of the Quad City (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra from 2013 through 2017. He has also served as Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and as Music Director of the 2011 New Hampshire Music Festival.  As Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Loeb founded and served as both Executive and Music Director of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras – El Paso’s only national-level, NEA-recognized, multiple-orchestra system serving the best young musicians in the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Juarez region. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its thirteenth year, hosted by orchestras around the world, most recently the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin, Czech Republic.

He lives in Davenport, Iowa with his wife, Quyen, his 11-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, his 9-year-old, Lulu Ladybug, and 7-year-old son Ryan “Taco”. He continues occasionally to concertize worldwide as pianist, conductor, educator and arts advocate. Loeb’s far-ranging interests do not limit him to music; he has directed plays, cooked gourmet meals for 65, tutored over 500 people in test preparation for the Princeton Review, and played and enjoyed almost every sport.  He is also an active member of the Davenport Rotary Club. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.