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SDSYO - Artistic Staff

Thomas Fortner

SDSYO Music Director and Conductor of Youth Orchestra, Sinfonia, & Prelude Strings

Conductor and cellist Thomas Fortner was most recently Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra. As the Founder and Artistic Director of the Iowa Great Lakes Music Festival, he partnered with local performing arts presenters to bring world class musical performances to the Iowa Great Lakes region. As a Graduate Assistant Conductor at the Peabody Conservatory, he led concerts of the Peabody Symphony and Conductors Orchestra during the 2016-2017 season.

In 2016, Fortner served as the assistant conductor for the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Library of Congress during their revival of the original Ballet to Copland’s Appalachian Spring. As cover conductor for the Concert Artists of Baltimore, he served under Maestro Ed Polochick.

A committed educator, Fortner has taught for the Baltimore Symphony “OrchKids” and the Bridges Academy programs, which provide at-risk youth with free music lessons.

Fortner was a member of the final class selected by the late Gustav Meier to attend the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Marin Alsop and Markand Thakar, completing his Graduate Performance Diploma in conducting in 2017. Additionally, Fortner completed a Bachelors and Masters of cello performance at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.  He has performed chamber music alongside musicians from orchestras such as the Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. A native of Houston, Texas, Fortner has enjoyed visiting his family in the Iowa Great Lakes since childhood.