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2016-17 Music Director Candidate Finalists

Brian Groner

Brian Groner is the Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony in Wisconsin, serves on the faculty of Northeastern Illinois University and is also the Conductor of the Symphony Session at the Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, Wisconsin. As a guest conductor he has appeared on the podium for many notable ensembles including the The Shenzhen Symphony (China), The San Diego Symphony, The Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Prague) and the International Contemporary Ensemble. He has conducted for The Moscow Classical Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Chicago, The Nashville Ballet, The Butler Ballet, and The Blair Ballet. He also served as cover conductor on the farewell tour of the late Rudolf Nureyev.

Maestro Groner holds an advanced degree in conducting from Northern Illinois University in collaboration with Northwestern University. His concerts for National Public Radio have been broadcast via satellite in over 50 major radio markets across the nation. He has also conducted the world premieres of over twenty substantial new American compositions.

A recent review of one of the Fox Valley Symphony’s concerts stated:

"Thus ended a platinum standard season for the FVSO. Groner has now brought his players to such a high level that nothing seems too far a stretch for them and the regional community has, in turn, packed the house, responding with loud encomiums. If this is not success, we can’t imagine what is."

Daniel Sommerville

Daniel Sommerville, Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music, Wheaton College, teaches conducting, orchestration and score reading, and has been the director of the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra since 1994. Under his leadership, the orchestra has collaborated with such notable musicians as Sylvia McNair, Marvin Hamlisch, The Hubbard Street Dance Company II, as well as many of the outstanding faculty performers of the Conservatory of Music. In addition, the orchestra was awarded Third Place in the 2012 American Prize competition (college and university orchestra division), and was invited to perform at the 2012 National Conference of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), held at Northwestern University. In 2006, the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra was chosen to be the host orchestra for a Conductors Guild National Conducting Workshop, with Dr. Sommerville serving as one of two master teachers. Dr. Sommerville has lead the orchestra on concert and ministry tours around the United States during the past 25 years—from the East Coast to the West Coast and from Florida and Texas to Minnesota.

Dr. Sommerville holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in music from Northwestern University. He has studied conducting with such notable conductors as Sir Georg Solti and Herbert Blomstedt. Past conducting posts include the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra (Indiana), the Westminster Chamber Orchestra (Illinois) and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Chicago. He was guest conductor of the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia in 2004. Dr. Sommerville is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician for area high schools and district honors orchestras, and has also been an orchestra conductor at MasterWorks Festival in Winona Lake, Indiana. In service to his profession he has held both regional and national presidencies in CODA.

Stephen Squires

Stephen Squires is Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory at Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. At CCPA, Mr. Squires conducts the Wind Ensemble. As a professional conductor, Mr. Squires has worked with many exceptional artists, including Janos Starker, Pinchas Zukerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, Richard Stoltzman, and most of the principal players of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Mr. Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, in his home state of New York. He earned his Master's degree in Instrumental Conducting/Trumpet Performance at California State University, Northridge. He continued conducting study in seminars with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and the Aspen School.

A conductor active in orchestral, wind, operatic and ballet music, Mr. Squires' current professional appointments include Associate Conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra (Rockford, IL), Principal Guest Conductor of the Millar Brass (Evanston, IL), and Conductor of the Salt Creek Ballet Orchestra (Hinsdale, IL). He recently made his debut conducting the Syracuse Symphony. He is the former Music Director of the Illinois Chamber Symphony. In addition, Mr. Squires is an accomplished recital accompanist and freelance trumpeter. He joined the faculty of CCPA in 2001.

Guest Conductor
Alison Gaines

Alison Gaines is from Pasadena, CA and is the conductor of the Chamber Orchestra at the College of DuPage, is Assistant Conductor for the Elmhurst Symphony as well as teaching college classes in music theory and music history and maintaining an active schedule as a bassist throughout the Chicago area. She has held conducting and music director positions with the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra, Iowa State University, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Kansas City at Park University and the Atchison Symphony. Guest conducting engagements have included rehearsal work with the Chicago Youth Symphony and the Italian Pop/opera group Il Volo as well as performance engagements throughout the Midwest with groups such as the Rockford Symphony, Central Iowa Symphony, Lawrence (KS) Chamber Orchestra and Arkansas District/All-State Festival and has conducted eight Brass Night performances and various chamber performances with the Breckenridge (CO) Music Festival. She holds a master’s in Bass performance from U.S.C. and a DMA in conducting from the University of Kansas, Lawrence where she held assistantships from both the orchestra and jazz departments.


Chorus Master
Lisa Fredenburgh

Dr. Lisa Fredenburgh is Director of Choral Activities at Aurora University in Aurora, IL. She received her BA in music education at Luther College where she studied under Weston Noble.  She holds two M.M. degrees and a D.M.A. from the University of Arizona where she studied under Maurice Skones, Thomas Hilbish, Jerry McCoy and Kenneth Jennings.  She has held previous conducting posts at University of Central Missouri, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and with the Opera Company of North Carolina.

Dr. Fredenburgh often serves as guest conductor and clinician locally, nationally, and abroad.  She has conducted multiple All-State Choirs in states including Georgia, New York, Arkansas, and North Carolina. She has conducted and taught master classes in the Dominican Republic and in Bolivia. She is a frequent presenter at national, regional and state level professional organizations in the fields of Women’s Choral Music, and the Music of Latin America. She formerly served as National Chair for the Women’s Choir Repertoire & Standards Committee, for the American Choral Directors Association and served on the steering committee for the 50th Anniversary National Convention in 2009. In addition to American Choral Directors Association, she is a member of CMS, and Chorus America.