New GTCYS Conductor Named

We are thrilled to announce that Mark Gitch will join GTCYS’ artistic staff as Concert Orchestra conductor beginning in September 2017. A consummate musician and educator, Mr. Gitch brings a wealth of teaching, performing, and conducting experience to GTCYS. He will assume this role while continuing to serve as Director of Orchestras with Wayzata High School, a position he’s held since 2005.

An outstanding musician, Mark inspires students’ best and develops their artistry through high standards. Artistic director Mark Russell Smith and I agree that his experience as a talented educator and his ability to connect with students – combined with the fact that he is a terrific human being – make him a perfect fit with GTCYS and our students.

Mark has a long history with GTCYS which dates back to his participation as a young violinist and touring member of Symphony. In more recent years, he has served as a frequent sectional coach and substitute conductor. (His full bio is included at the end of this message.) His belief in GTCYS’ mission and understanding of our culture and values will ensure a smooth transition.

Mark is excited to join GTCYS’ team and shared this statement with us: “As a GTCYS alum, life-long Minnesota musician, and long-time music educator, I’m thrilled for this opportunity to join the GTCYS family. In addition to having a strong artistic vision and a supportive organizational structure, the GTCYS community is known for its student-centered approach, which is very appealing to me. I look forward to aligning my experiences as a musician and teacher with the aspirations of Concert Orchestra students so that we can continue the great music-making experienced under Dr. Klemme.”

After four years on GTCYS’ staff, current Concert Orchestra conductor Dr. Benjamin Klemme will step down in June to assume the prestigious role of music director with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association. He has led Concert Orchestra with great integrity, inspiring our musicians to new artistic heights and fostering their development as young adults.

We look forward to welcoming Mark to the GTCYS family this summer and celebrating Dr. Klemme at Spring Festivals on May 7.

More About Mark Gitch

Mark Gitch, the Director of Orchestras at Wayzata High School since 2005, traces his love for orchestral music back to the Mounds View orchestra program and teachers Doug Overland and John Madura. Further encouraged through violin lessons with Mary Horozaniecki, and energized by his time in GTCYS’ Symphony Orchestra under Dr. William LaRue Jones, Mr. Gitch went on to earn degrees in music education from St. Olaf College (B.A. ‘88) and the University of St. Thomas (M.A. ‘02). Mr. Gitch began his teaching career in Owatonna, where he taught until moving to Wayzata. In addition to his career in the public schools, Mr. Gitch has conducted for the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras and the MacPhail Center for Music Suzuki Program, served as Music Director for the Owatonna Community Orchestra, guest conducted the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and remained active as a violinist. Mr. Gitch has also served in leadership positions at the local, regional and state level, including board terms with the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) and the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA).  He was the recipient of the 2004 MNSOTA Master Teacher – School Orchestra award and the 2002 Owatonna Community Arts Award. Mr. Gitch and his daughter, Maya, live in St. Louis Park.

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