Christopher Thibdeau – Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor
Christopher Thibdeau has a diverse background as both a cellist and a conductor. Recently appointed the Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Atlanta, Christopher has previously served as the Associate Conductor of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra, Cover Conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of the Atlanta Music Project Orchestras, a US based El Sistema inspired program.
Besides his duties with MYSO, Christopher is also Assistant Conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra. He is also on faculty as Adjunct Cello Professor with Clayton State University and serves as the Conductor of the Atlanta Chamber Music Festival. He is an active cellist, maintaining a private teaching studio as well as performing with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the Acworth United Methodist Orchestra.
As an educator, Christopher has presented workshops and educational concerts in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and other areas across the US. He has also been a panel speaker at the 2007 Connecticut State Music Teachers Association State Convention and featured as a guest speaker and moderator for the Eastman School of Music “Polyphonic.org” webinar series.
Christopher has participated in many conducting workshops and seminars, including the Conductors Retreat at Medomak under the direction of Kenneth Kiesler, the New England Conservatory Summer Institute where he studied under Frank Battisti and Charles Peltz, and the International Conducting Institute with the Round Rock Symphony under Maestro Peter Bay.
Mr. Thibdeau holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music where he studied cello with Alan Harris and orchestral conducting with Neil Varon and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Carl Topilow.
Carl Rieke, Philharmonia Director
Mr. Carl Rieke graduated from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota) in 1997, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. He received his Masters Degree in Instrumental Conducting from Georgia State University in 2003.
From 1999 until 2006, Mr. Rieke was Director of Orchestras at Shiloh High School in Gwinnett County. While teaching in Gwinnett, he was a co-conductor of the Gwinnett County Youth Symphony. Under Mr. Rieke’s direction, the Shiloh High School Chamber Orchestra, Gwinnett County Youth Symphony, Metropolitan Youth Symphony Strings, and the Southern Crescent Symphony were featured at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) state conference. From 2006-2009, Mr. Rieke taught at Ola Middle School (OMS) in Henry County where he was named Teacher of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year. That same year, his program at OMS received the GMEA Exemplary Program Award. In 2013, Mr. Rieke was named a “Class Act” teacher by Atlanta’s WXIA-TV—11 Alive News. He is in his second year at Frank N. Osborne Middle School in Gwinnett County where he has over three hundred students in his program.
Mr. Rieke has had the privilege to conduct many orchestra camps and clinics around the metro area and State, including the Encore music camp in Atlanta (of which he is now a co-owner), the University of Georgia Music Camp and fall festival, the Atlanta Suzuki Summer Institute, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) summer camp, the Gwinnett Tapestry Festival, the Clayton County Honor Clinic, the New Ulm Minnesota Suzuki pops camp, and one of the 2009 Alabama All-State Orchestras.
Mr. Rieke has been an All-State Orchestra organizing chair for seven years and served as the GMEA Orchestra division chair (2007-2009). He was the GMEA Vice-President of performance evaluations from 2013-2015. Mr. Rieke has also served as Secretary for the Georgia Chapter of ASTA and was named the Georgia ASTA “Orchestra Director of the Year” in 2010. He was recently elected treasure for the Georgia ASTA for the next two years. Mr. Rieke has presented sessions at the GMEA in-service Conference and the ASTA National Conference. He also serves as an adjudicator at orchestra evaluations around the State of Georgia.
Mr. Rieke resides in Tucker, Georgia, with his wife Stacy and twelve-year-old son, David.
Dr. Marilyn Seelman-Symphony Orchestra Conductor Emeritus
Dr. Marilyn Seelman is Music Director/Conductor of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of Miami-Coral Gables, Florida and her Master of Music in Viola from Boston University. She has held the position of Director of Orchestras and violist at Trinity University in San Antonio, The University of New Mexico-Albuquerque and Georgia State University. Dr. Seelman has served as an All-State Conductor in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alaska and will be serving in that capacity in Colorado and Florida in 2011. In addition she was on the conducting faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp in 2009 and 2010. She has presented viola master classes at Vanderbilt University, American String Teachers’ Association National Conventions, and in Nanjing, China along with presenting sessions on viola pedagogy and string pedagogy at many professional meetings. Dr. Seelman is Past-President of the Georgia Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and now serves on the national board of ASTA as Publications Chair and National Solo Competition Chair. Under her leadership, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony of Atlanta has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and Georgia Music Educators’ Conference in Savannah. In addition, at the invitation of the US-China Cultural and Educational Foundation, in 2006, MYSO performed in Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai and in 2008 gave performances in Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. She is teaching music education at Georgia State University during the 2010-11 academic year and continues to maintain an active viola studio, adjudicate festivals, conduct, and gives clinics throughout the United States and abroad.