March 21, 2012

Julie Sturm

PhD – University of Arizona

Julie Sturm joined the music theory faculty of the Department of Music at Iowa State University in 2010. Dr. Sturm is a Fulbright scholar, studying German Harmonielehre (instructional texts in music theory) from 1990-91. Her PhD in music theory is from the University of Arizona.

As a cellist with international experience including concertos, recitals and orchestral performances, Julie also holds degrees in cello performance from the San Francisco Conservatory and Indiana University. Among her many and varied performance credentials, she has collaborated with the Munich Philharmonic, has toured Israel, Germany and the Canary Islands with Orchester der Nationen, has been the soloist in Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in Taejon, South Korea, and has appeared as a recitalist in Mexico City, Berlin, Munich, Passau, Los Angeles and Boston, in addition to her more recent appearances in Iowa.

Dr. Sturm has held the principal cello chair of the Des Moines Symphony since 1998, during which time she has also held professorships at Drake University and Grinnell College, where she has taught cello, chamber music and music theory. Prior to moving her career to Iowa, Julie directed the chamber music and theory programs at The Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass.

She plays a cello made by the Hungarian luthier Janos Spiegel.

February 21, 2012

Gregory Oakes

Gregory Oakes is one of the most exciting and energetic clarinetists of his generation. From his Carnegie Hall debut with members of Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez to his performances as a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Oakes has been praised by critics for his “outstanding performance” (The New York Times) and “jazzy flourishes” (Denver Post).

He has appeared as a concerto soloist with such esteemed ensembles as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Denver Brass, performed with Grammy® Award-winner Terence Blanchard at the Telluride Jazz Festival, played at Amsterdam’s venerable new music hall, De IJsbreker, and been a featured soloist at the prestigious MaerzMusik festival in Berlin. He has been featured as a soloist at multiple International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests, the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the International Computer Music Conference, Amsterdam’s Gaudeamus International Interpreters’ Competition, the Karnatic Lab concert series (Amsterdam), the Crested Butte Chamber Music Festival, Boulder’s Modern Music Festival (M2F), and Colorado Music Festival’s Young Artist Series.

Dr. Oakes has also toured Brazil and been in residence at Princeton University, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and the Aspen Music Festival. In the summer, he is on the faculty of The Cortona Sessions festival for new music in Tuscany, Italy. Dr. Oakes’ recordings have been released on Bridge, CRI, Gothic, Karnatic Lab Records, and Naxos and broadcast on National Public Radio. His solo CD New Dialects appears on the Centaur Records label. Dr. Oakes is on the faculty of Iowa State University and is principal clarinet of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. He is a Buffet Crampon and Vandoren Performing Artist.

February 21, 2012

Michael Geary

Michael Geary is the Principal Timpani for the Des Moines Symphony. He is a native of Mason City and became an extra percussionist with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO, Tri City at the time) as a college freshman and was appointed Timpanist three years later. The same year he became Resident Percussionist with the University of Iowa Center for New Music, beginning a l4-year association with that ensemble and ultimately developing a reputation as a skilled interpreter of challenging 20th-century repertoire. He has premiered numerous solo and collaborative works often working directly with composers and performing from coast to coast and Alaska at conferences and universities. While at the University of Iowa, Geary was a member instructor and composer for the Hawkeye Marching Band over the course of ten seasons.

Geary is also a  Percussionist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony as well as the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. He has performed often in Hancher Auditorium and other area venues. He champions Australian composers, whom include Carl Vine, presenting the premiere of the orchestrated version of his Percussion Concerto in Des Moines and the North American Premiere of the Percussion Symphony with colleagues from the QCSO.

ln 1992, he joined the orchestra of the Spoleto Festival, performing during ten seasons in Italy and Charleston, South Carolina. He took part in such projects as Prokofiev’s War & Peace, Berg’s Wozzeck, Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Elektra, Shostakovich’s The Nose and diverse works of festival founder Gian Carlo Menotti. He was also featured in Milhaud’s Creation du Mondeo Crumb’s Madrigals and the American Premiere of Mauricio Kagel’s Oral Treason. He performed there with renowned artists including Luciano Pavarotti, Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, Renata Scotto, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and conductors Richard Hickox, James Conlon, Steven Mercurio,  Christopher Keane and Spiros Argiris. Geary’s contemporary projects include performances and recordings with David Gompper, Lewis Nielson, John D. White and cellist Craig Hultgren (former QCSO member and a Davenport native). He is heard on numerous Spoleto Festival recordings on the Chandos label as well as CRI, Music & Arts, aca, and Innova.

Geary holds degrees from the University of Iowa and has also taught at lowa State University. He studied with Thomas L. Davis at the UI, Steven Schick  (his predecessor at the CNM) and Cloyd Duff, the long-time Timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra.

He is currently on the faculty of Luther College, Decorah Iowa. He currently resides in his hometown of Mason City.

January 31, 2012

Misha Rosenker

Misha Rosenker has been principal second violinist with the Des Moines Symphony since 1998.



January 30, 2012

Derek Stratton

Derek Stratton, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is currently the Middle School Band Director for the Pella Community Schools. There, he is responsible for Seventh Grade Band, Seventh Grade and Eighth Grade Jazz Bands, and lessons for students in grades six through eight.

Mr. Stratton is considered one of the most versatile music educators in the state, having taught in all sizes of schools and situations. His experience includes the Perry Junior and Senior High Schools, Dowling High School, Indianola High School, Elk Horn-Kimballton Schools (5-12), and PCM High School. His Pella seventh grade concert band has received highly superior ratings at all large group festivals in his district as well as being chosen twice to perform at the Iowa Music Educators Conference. His eighth grade jazz band commissioned a work from composer/jazz educator Bob Washut and was invited to open for Washut’s “Jazz Panther” spring concert at the University of Northern Iowa in 2008.

In 1982, he received the ASBDA-Stanbury Award as Outstanding Young Band Director for the State of Iowa and also was awarded a Music Education Fellowship to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1986. He received a Bachelor of Music Education in 1977 and Master of Music Education in 1982 from Drake University in Des Moines.

In November of 2003, he became one of 8,195 elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide who achieved National Board Certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. His certificate is in Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood/Music.

An active trumpet player in the Des Moines area, he has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and Principal Trumpet since 1986. Described by the symphony’s conductor, Joseph Giunta, as “one of the best trumpet players in the state”, he can be heard as soloist on the symphony’s recording of Concerto in F by Gershwin with Earl Wild, piano, on the Chesky label. In October 2004, he performed Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto with the Des Moines Symphony. The Des Moines Register said “Stratton plays with poignant lyricism.” He also has performed with the Des Moines Municipal Band, the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Des Moines Choral Society, and the Des Moines Symphony Brass Quintet as well as numerous shows at the Des Moines Civic Center.

His wife, Julie, teaches art at Pella High School and they have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Rachael.