• Artistic Directors
  • Musicians
  • Staff & Board
  • Mission & History
  • Auditions & Careers
  • Community Impact

Darko Butorac DARKO BUTORAC, Music Director

Praised by the Westdeutsche Zeitung for his “exceptional combination of passion, elegance and well‐timed pacing”, Darko Butorac has established himself as a conductor in demand with orchestras both in Europe and the Americas. He currently serves as the Music Director of the Missoula and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestras, and was recently appointed as the new Music Director of the Asheville Symphony.

Following his debut with the Belgrade Philharmonic in January 2011, Butorac was reengaged to conduct both the season finale and the opening concert of the 2012 season. Other notable guest conducting engagements include performances with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Neuss and the Georgische Kammerorchester Ingolstadt (Germany), the Rubinstein Philharmonic of Lodz (Poland), the Xiamen Symphony (China), the Tallinn Sinfonietta (Estonia), and the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Gran Teatro Nacional of Lima, Belgrade's Kolarac Hall, the Teatro Magnani in Italy, and at the Tartu, Aspen and St.Olav summer music festivals. From 2008 to 2013 he served as the principal conductor of the Fidenza Opera Festival.

Distinguished collaborations include soprano Renee Fleming, cellist Colin Carr, violinist Robert McDuffie, and Oscar-winning actor J.K.Simmons. Highlights of the 2018-19 season include performances with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, clarinetist Anthony McGill, the Morehouse College Glee Club, and a world premiere of the orchestral version of David Maslanka's Fourth Symphony.

Butorac is also in demand as a public speaker on leadership. His TEDx Montana talk on the “Language of Conducting” has over 100K views on YouTube. He has spoken on behalf of Brighthouse, a division of BCG, and was the headline speaker at the Birla Carbon International Leadership Summit in Bangkok in 2018.

As the Grand Prix Laureate and Gold Medalist of the Fourth International Vakhtang Jordania Conducting Competition Butorac was invited to conduct orchestras across four continents. He was also selected to participate at the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview hosted by the League of American Orchestras and the Jacksonville Symphony. He is an avid traveler, having visited almost seventy countries, and is passionate about discovering the world and bringing people together through the beauty of music.

Dean Peterson DEAN PETERSON, Chorale Director

Dean Peterson has served as Director of the Missoula Symphony Chorale since 2006. In 2011, he retired from his position as Director of Choirs at Hellgate High School, where he taught for 25 years. He served as interim Director of Choirs at the University of Montana for the 2011–2012 academic year, and has served three years as conductor of the Missoula Mendelssohn Club. He currently works with the College Music Society as Coordinator of Community Outreach and Careers.

Dean received his Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from the University of Montana, and his Masters degree in Music Education with Kodaly emphasis from Holy Names College in Oakland, CA. In 1987 he co-founded the Missoula Youth Choir and co-directed the group in all eight of their performances in the Missoula International Choral Festival.

In 1992 he was selected to sing in the Robert Shaw Choral Workshop and Performance of the Beethoven Missa Solemnis in Carnegie Hall. In 1997 he received a $25,000 National Milken Educator of the Year Award, and in 2004 his Hellgate Chevaliers were selected to perform at the Northwest Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Boise, Idaho.

Dean was recognized by the National Federation of High Schools as the 2010-2011 Outstanding Music Educator for Montana and the Northwest region. In March 2011, he was named Missoula Arts Educator of the Year by the Missoula Cultural Council and he received the 2011 Distinguished Service Award for the Montana Music Educators Association. In March 2014, Dean was honored by the University of Montana in the annual Odyssey of the Stars. He is a member and past president of the Montana Choral Directors Association, a member of the Montana Music Educators Association, a member of the Board of Directors for the Missoula International Choral Festival. He and his wife, Dorothy have been very active musically in Missoula for over 30 years and are the proud parents of two children: Ross and Elin.



Missoula Symphony Staff

 JO MAY SALONEN - Executive Director

 PETER McKENZIE - Director of Operations

 BETH WOODY - Development Coordinator

 SYLVIA ALLEN OMAN - Education Coordinator

Board of Directors

  • Jim Valeo, President
  • Julie Tomasik, Vice President
  • Ben Yonce, Treasurer
  • Jo May Salonen, Secretary
  • Ed Wetherbee, Past President
  • Jenifer Caldwell
  • Andrew George
  • Mark Haythornthwaite
  • Theresa Johnson
  • Bill Johnston
  • Celeste Peterson
  • Heather Ready
  • Deborah Stapley-Graham
  • Jeff Vandergrift

Appointed Directors

  • Chris Porter
    Orchestra Representative
  • Robin Kendall
    Chorale Representative

Ex-Officio Directors

  • John Driscoll
    Executive Director
  • Darko Butorac
    Music Director
  • Dean Peterson
    Chorale Director

Mission Statement

The mission of the Missoula Symphony Association shall be to assure cultural enrichment essential to the quality of life in the Missoula area by providing live symphonic and choral music of the highest quality. The Symphony shall provide musical growth and development for its performers and the community.


The Missoula Symphony Orchestra was organized in 1954 with Eugene Andrie as its founding conductor. The orchestra personnel was comprised of townspeople, University of Montana music faculty members, and U of M students. A Board of Directors was formed and a constitution and by-laws were adopted. The first concert was performed on April 3, 1955.

At this time, the U.S. launched the world’s first atom-powered submarine, the Nautilus, and conducted thermonuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The news personality of the year was Senator Mike Mansfield, who shared the spotlight with Governor Hugh Aronson. Missoula County issued 14,411 passenger car licenses, and today’s “malfunction junction” was controlled by five little red stop signs.

In March of 1956, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra was accepted as a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League (now known as the League of American Orchestras). The Missoula Symphony Chorale was organized in 1962 with George Lewis as founding conductor. The Missoula Symphony Association was formed in 1976 and obtained its non-profit 501(c)(3) status that year.

Now celebrating its 61st season, the Association has grown to a current operating budget of over $600,000. It employs a full-time Music Director, a full-time Executive Director, a full-time Director of Operations, a full-time Director of Patron Services & Special Events, and a part-time Chorale Director. The masterworks season has grown to a five-concert season, with each concert featuring two performances. At least seven additional concerts are presented in addition to the masterworks season. The eighty member orchestra is conducted by Music Director Darko Butorac, and the one hundred member chorale is conducted by Dean Peterson.

In addition to the regular concert season, the orchestra performs an enormous free outdoor Summer Concert each August in downtown Missoula, performs two Youth Concerts each year for 2,000 fourth grade students from communities within a 100 mile radius of Missoula, presents a wildly popular Family Concert and provides educational performances and workshops in Missoula schools and in outlying communities. The Missoula Symphony Chorale performed in Europe at the invitation of choirs in Vienna, Austria in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2002.

The Missoula Symphony Association continues to grow both artistically and financially as it is now well into its second half-century of progress.



The Missoula Symphony Association (MSA) is seeking an Executive Director for the Missoula Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. The MSA is seeking a visionary leader as Executive Director who, under the direction of the Board of Directors and in collaboration with the Music Director, will provide leadership, direction, management and a vision to grow the Missoula Symphony Orchestra artistically and financially. The Executive Director assumes responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Missoula Symphony’s administrative operations, patron and donor development, fundraising, marketing and promotion, visionary planning, financial operations and other duties.

Preference will be given to applications received before February 15, 2019, but submissions will be accepted until finalists are selected. Please Click Here to view the complete Position Posting. Click the button below to submit an application:


The Missoula Symphony Association is seeking a Music Director/Conductor for the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. Preference will be given to applications received before December 17, 2018, but submissions will be accepted until finalists are selected. Click Here to view the complete Position Posting. Click the button below to submit an application:


Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale auditions are held annually in late summer/early autumn.

Auditions for the Orchestra’s sub list may be arranged on a case by case basis. Auditions for the Chorale, especially for Male voices, may also be arranged on a case by case basis.

Missoula Symphony Orchestra Auditions 2018-2019

he 2018-2019 orchestra audition date is Sunday, September 9th at 3pm. Auditions are held at the University of Montana Music Building.

Audition Requirements & Material:

Missoula Symphony Chorale Auditions 2018-2019
  • Auditions for all new Chorale member will be held on Tuesday, September 4th beginning at 7pm, in Room 218, Music Building, University of Montana.

  • Auditions for current Chorale Alto members will be held on Wednesday, September 5th. More information will be provided at a later day by Chorale Director, Dean Peterson.

To schedule a mid-season audition, please call 406-721-3194 or use the form field below.

First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:
Instrument or Voice Type:

Community Impact

"Youth Concerts"

Youth Concerts

"Family Concert"

Family Concert

"Symphony in the Park"

Symphony in the Park

"Engagement & Education"

Outreach & Education