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A LITTLE ABOUT US

 
 

MISSION

MPO exists to enrich the culture of the community through music performance and education, fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of music. 

VISION

The vision of the MPO is to be a premier orchestra, providing musical, cultural, and creative art experiences for the community.

 

When it all began

The Marion Philharmonic was formed in 1969 under the direction of Benjamin G. Del Vecchio. The orchestra was comprised of students and local area musicians until it became a semi-professional ensemble within a five year period.  Mr. Del Vecchio was an Indiana University doctoral student when he joined the music faculty at Taylor University. Little did he know founding an orchestra would become a major priority.  With the assistance of Dr. Edward Hermanson of Taylor University and a group of committed Marion businessmen, the orchestra quickly became a passion of Del Vecchio and together they developed the MPO.

In 1975 Robert Antonian was named director and conductor of the MPO.  Before coming to Grant County, Mr. Antonian was on the faculty of the New York State University School of Music at Fredonia.  During his career, Mr. Antonian directed over 350 concerts in Europe and the United States. 

The MPO opened its 1978 season under the direction of Manfred Blum.  Mr. Blum taught at Earlham College, directed the Richmond Symphony, and was acting director of the Anderson Symphony. 

Maestro Raymond Harvey took direction of the MPO in 1982.  An accomplished pianist and choral conductor, his talent has been sought after by many of the nation’s leading orchestras.   Raymond Harvey was called “one of a welcome new breed of American-born and trained conductors enriching our national musical scene.”   

The MPO welcomed Yale University graduate, Neil Gittleman in 1986.  Mr. Gittleman continued his tenure until 1996, dedicating his high musical standards and built an even stronger relationship between the orchestra and its patrons.  Gittleman continues to serve as conductor of the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ohio.

Alexander Platt began his opening season in 1996 leading the orchestra through two decades of committed musical excellence.  Mr. Platt served as conductor of the Racine, Waukesha, and Grand Forks Symphonies, Director of the Plymouth Chorale in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has guest conducted with several leading orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

The Marion Philharmonic recently celebrated its 2018-19 “New Dawning” season with Maestro Matthew Kraemer, continuing his tenure into the 2019 -20 season.  Mr. Kraemer currently serves as the Music Director of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Butler County Symphony in western Pennsylvania.  The MPO family and Maestro Kraemer will continue to dedicate and enrich Grant County residents with high quality orchestral performances.   

 
 
 
 
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Maestro Matthew Kraemer

Recognized for his “musical sensitivity” and “energized sense of interpretation”, Matthew Kraemer is quickly making his mark among young American conductors for his inspired performances and versatility. The Buffalo News has noted, “He presents a tall, dignified, and stately podium presence with a quite clear beat, a good sense of shaping melodic lines, and an all business attitude that focused on the music without any histrionics.” Mr. Kraemer began his tenure as Music Director of the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra with the 2018-19 season. He additionally continues as Music Director of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Butler County Symphony in western Pennsylvania. His active guest conducting schedule includes appearances with many of the nation's finest orchestras, including the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Spokane, Syracuse, and Toledo Symphony orchestras, as well as Canada’s Mississauga Symphony, Niagara Symphony, and Hamilton Philharmonic and in Europe with the Vidin Philharmonic and the Orquesta de Cadaqués. Some of his performing highlights include Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Berio’s Rendering, Hanson’s 2nd Symphony, Sebelius’ 2nd Symphony, Debussy’s La Mer, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919), in addition to performances with Wu Man, Tessa Lark, Drew Peterson, and Juliana Athayde.

Mr. Kraemer served as an associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 2009 to 2014, where he regularly led the orchestra on each of its concert series. The BPO's award-winning education concerts grew exponentially under his leadership, expanding to reach over 40,000 students throughout western New York. A passionate advocate for new music, he has performed the works of many living composers during his career. Mr. Kraemer has served as Music Director of the Erie Chamber Orchestra (2012-2017) and associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (2007-2010). His performances are broadcast regularly on NPR's Performance Today.

Recipient of the distinguished Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship and the Bruno Walter Career Development Grant, Mr. Kraemer served a residency with the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2006 Salzburg Music Festival. Equally at home in the opera pit, his credits include fully-staged productions of The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Madame butterfly, La Traviata, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Happy Birthday Wanda June (world premiere), Too Many Sopranos, and Mansfield Park (American professional premiere). He has collaborated with many leading artists, including Lang Lang, Jennifer Koh, Elmar Oliviera, Gary Karr, Awadagin Pratt, Richard Stolzman, Bela Fleck, Ben Folds, and Chris Botti. As a frequent collaborator with Broadway superstar Idina Menzel, he served as conductor for many of her numerous symphony engagements nationwide.

An Indiana native, Mr. Kraemer studied conducting in Vienna, Austria with Salvador Mas Conde and was twice a fellowship conductor at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. His conducting teachers include David Zinman, Robert Spano, and Jorma Panula. Mr. Kraemer is a graduate of Butler University and the University of Nevada, where he assisted former Cincinnati Symphony concertmaster Phillip Ruder. An accomplished violinist in his own right, he was a member of the Nightingale String Quartet. When he is not performing, Mr. Kraemer enjoys cooking, running, and reading. He and his wife Megan reside in Indianapolis with their sons Gabriel and Nathaniel.     

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Executive Director Joy Frecker

Joy Frecker is from a musical family, who nurtured her love of music. Having grown up in Marion, she started piano lessons with a local piano teacher, Ms. Ruth Kipp, when she was six years old. Two years later, Joy began taking harp lessons from Ms, Elizabeth Richter at Ball State University. Joy graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2014 with degrees in Applied Piano and Business Administration. At IWU, Joy studied the piano under the direction of Dr. Phoenix Park-Kim and toured with the IWU Wind Ensemble as pianist, harpist, and percussionist. In addition to performing with both the IWU Orchestra and the MPO as a college student, she had her first experience in managing an orchestra with the Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis, where she was a summer intern.

Joy has long used her talents in the community through teaching, performing, and volunteering. She currently teaches private piano lessons and taught music classes at St. Paul Catholic School for three years after graduation. She continues her musical skills as a staff accompanist at IWU and by performing harp and piano at various parties, nursing homes, and weddings. She is also involved at Holy Family and St. Paul Catholic Churches as pianist and singer. She has served as the harpist for the IWU Orchestra, the MPO, and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed at the Honeywell House in Wabash. Very much a part of the arts, Joy has been involved in the Marion Civic Theatre as a musician, an actress, and music director. Joy is excited to begin her second year as the MPO's Executive Director and looks forward to enriching Grant County through offering the experience of live orchestral music.