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The extraordinarily varied career of Steven Byess takes him not only to the stages of symphony orchestras and opera
companies, but also to the stages and genres of Broadway, jazz and television. He is a dynamic conductor and has been
hailed by critics as "masterful and brilliant," "creating the epitome of instrumental elegance" and "a talented interpreter,
able to capture the sweep of a piece without neglecting detail." He is the Music Director of the Tupelo Symphony
Orchestra, the Interim Director of Orchestras for the Denver School of the Arts, Music Director of opera for California
State University — Los Angeles, Conductor at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel and the former
Music Director of the Ohio Light Opera where he conducted, to critical acclaim, over 400 performances of 50 diverse
operas, operettas, and musical theater works. With the Ohio Light Opera, Mr. Byess is featured on eleven CD
recordings by Newport Classics, Albany Records, and Operetta Archives of Johann Strauss’ A Night In Venice, Victor
Herbert’s Naughty Marietta, Emmerich Kàlmàn’s Autumn Maneuvers, Countess Maritza, Das Veilchen vom
Montmartre, and Der Güte Komerad, Schubert's Das Dreimäderlhaus, Rudolph Friml’s The Vagabond King, Sigmund
Romberg's Maytime, and Sullivan's The Sorcerer. Recent posts include six seasons as Cover Conductor for the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra, Opera Conductor for the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio), and Music Director of the Ohio
Light Opera. Mr. Byess was formerly on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor,
Michigan and Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and he previously held conducting posts with the Cobb
Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Ballet and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.
In the summer of 2008, Mr. Byess returned to the Pine Mountain Music Festival in the upper peninsula of Michigan to
lead a new production of Le Tragédie de Carmen (Bizet/Brook). Previous productions at the festival include a critically
acclaimed production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide with director Joshua Major and the composer’s daughter Jamie
Bernstein, and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. He also returned to Israel to conduct a production of Puccini’s La Bohème at
the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv. Mr. Byess conducted the members of the Kansas City Symphony
Orchestra in a performance at the National Flute Association convention in August and the members of the Cleveland
Orchestra in a memorial concert for oboist John Mack in November. In December 2008, Mr. Byess conducted a fourth
tour of the U.S. with the Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra from Krakow, Poland, and in the summer 2009 he will return to
Taipei, Taiwan and Nanning, China to lead orchestras in each city.
Mr. Byess received his Bachelor of Music Degree in classical performance and jazz studies from Georgia State
University, and his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with
Louis Lane and Carl Topilow, bassoon with George Goslee and David McGill, violin with Carol Ruzicka, and piano
with Olga Radosavljevich. He also attended the Pierre Monteux Memorial School for Conductors under the tutelage of
Maître Charles Bruck. In addition to his conducting studies with Louis Lane, Robert Shaw, and Carl Topilow, he has
worked under the auspices of the American Symphony Orchestra League with such noted conductors as Lorin Maazel,
Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, and Otto Werner Mueller. Mr. Byess was an assistant to conductor
Robert Shaw at the Shaw Institute in Souilliac, France.
Steven Byess is a passionate advocate for the arts, much sought after for his speeches on the arts, music, music
education and general education. An important community leader, he has created and organized frequent and annual
collaborations with numerous choruses, chamber music ensembles, and festivals of the arts. He also wrote, co-directed
and is featured in a PBS presentation entitled Count On It!, which is designed for children grades K-3, and shows the
correlation of music to mathematics.
Mr. Byess was chosen by Walt Disney World Entertainment to conduct the 2000 NFL E*TRADE Superbowl Halftime
show. The production had over 400 performers, including the Walt Disney World Millennium Orchestra, and
international artists Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and Edward James Olmos, and was
broadcast to over 900 million viewers worldwide. Byess is also currently featured in a commercial videotaping for the
Starz and Encore movie channels, airing internationally.
Guest conducting for 2008-2009 include return engagements at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan and the
International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Guangxi Symphony Orchestra in Nanning, China, a fourth
U.S. tour with the Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra (Krakow, Poland), guest conductor for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra
and the All-West Tennessee Honor Orchestra, and opera productions of Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Carmen (Bizet),
L’Isle de Tulipatan (Offenbach), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Menotti), and a production of the Zarzuela El Dúo de la
Africana (Caballero).