Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra - Philharmonia


MYSO’s second symphony orchestra, numbering 140 members, participates in a curriculum that introduces the major styles and national flavors of symphonic literature. This ensemble plays a wide variety of challenging original works. Most students in this group are in grades 9-12.

Beginning his 43rd season with MYSO, Ron Melby serves as a Music Director of Philharmonia. Mr. Melby taught in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District for 32 years and retired as orchestra director at Nathan Hale High School in 1995. He served on the staff of the Wisconsin High School Honors Orchestra for two years and directed at the first National Youth Orchestra Festival in Washington DC in 1977.

Mr. Melby received his BMusEd degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has graduate credits in String Development and Music Education from that institution, as well. His education also includes summer institute study with Shinichi Suzuki, George Bornhoff and Paul Roland. In 1993, Mr. Melby received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the American String Teachers Association/Wisconsin String Teachers Association. In 2002 Mr. Melby was honored by the Civic Music Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carter Simmons serves the MYSO organization as Director of Artistic Education and Resident Conductor. He conducts the Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the Junior Symphony Orchestra, and regards his interaction with these young musicians to be an honor and privilege. Since joining the staff in 1992, he has conducted several regional orchestras and served as a clinician in both Wisconsin and Illinois. He has worked with the MSO and has spoken on the subject of programming for the American Symphony Orchestra League.

Carter was President of the Board of Directors of Milwaukee's Civic Music Association and, with many others, helped design and oversee the creation of the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. As part of his education, he participated in conducting seminars of both the Conductor's Guild and the American Symphony Orchestra League and was a finalist for the National Conducting Institute of the National Symphony Orchestra.

He received his B.M. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Horn Performance, and his M.M. in Conducting from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he was a graduate assistant in the school's band department and a conductor of the UWMYWE program. Carter, is a native of Virginia and North Carolina and received his earliest musical training from members of the Washington, D.C. military bands.

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