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

Darko Butorac DARKO BUTORAC, Music Director

Recently praised by the Westdeutsche Zeitung for his "elegance and well-timed pacing", Maestro Darko Butorac is establishing himself as one of the world's most sought-after young conductors. Following his debut with the Belgrade Philharmonic in January of 2011 he was invited to both close the 2011 and open the 2012 concert seasons. In addition to his activities in Belgrade, notable concerts include collaborations with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Neuss and the Georgische Kammerorchester Ingolstadt (Germany), the Rubinstein Philharmonic of Lodz (Poland), the Tallin Sinfonietta (Estonia), and a debut at the celebrated Vienna Konzerthaus with the Slovenian Radio Orchestra in the spring of 2014.

Since taking the baton in 2007, Butorac has propelled the Missoula Symphony Orchestra to a new level of musical achievement, with an expanded repertoire and local premieres of works by established and emerging composers. Butorac and the orchestra have shared the stage with renowned guest artists including Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie, pianists Stewart Goodyear and Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and celebrated actor J.K. Simmons. The Symphony’s growing popularity has ignited ticket sales and established Butorac as a cultural leader in the community.

Within North America, Butorac has been featured as a guest conductor with the Charleston Symphony, the Canton Symphony, the Springfield Symphony, Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers, the Montana Lyric Opera and as the Principal Conductor of the Northwest Mahler Festival in Seattle. In May of 2013 Butorac was hired as the new Music Director of the Tallahassee Symphony in Florida, following a two-year long international search. Highlights of his guest conducting engagements abroad include the Mendoza and Neuquen Symphonies in Argentina, the Xiamen Philharmonic in China, the Slobozhansky Orchestra and the Kharkov Philharmonic in the Ukraine, and annual visits with Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra of Parma as the principal conductor of the Fidenza Opera Festival in Italy.

In 2003, Butorac was awarded a fellowship by David Zinman to study at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. Upon his return to the festival in 2004, Butorac was named Assistant Conductor of the Aspen Opera Theater Center and worked with Julius Rudel and Arnold Oestman. He has also worked extensively at the Brevard Music Center, Aspen Music Festival and Indiana University. His principal mentors are David Effron, Jorma Panula, Imre Pallo and David Zinman. For more information on Butorac, please visit www.darkobutorac.com.

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

 JOHN DRISCOLL - Executive Director

 PETER McKENZIE - Director of Operations

 SHANNA UNGATE - Director of Patron Services & Special Events

 BETH WOODY - Development Coordinator

Board of Directors

  • Ed Wetherbee, President
    Old Sawmill District
  • Jim Valeo, Vice President
    Retired Investment Banker
  • Richard Dailey, Treasurer
    Retired Economics Professor
  • Julie Tomasik, Secretary
    AAA Western Montana
  • Sharon Snavely, Past President
  • Jenifer Caldwell
  • Patrick Dauenhauer
    ERA Lambros Real Estate
  • Andrew George
    George Law Offices
  • Tricia Hightower
    First Security Bank
  • Donald MacDonald
    Retired Judge
  • Heather Ready
    Lone Mountain Ranch
  • Jo May Salonen
  • Deborah Stapley-Graham
    Park Side Credit Union
  • Jeff Vandergrift
    Value Source Partners
  • Ben Yonce
    Langel & Associates, PC

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.


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

The 2018-2019 orchestra audition date will be announced in early June 2018. 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:


No positions available at this time.

Community Impact

"Youth Concerts"

Youth Concerts

"Family Concert"

Family Concert

"Symphony in the Park"

Symphony in the Park

"Outreach & Education"

Outreach & Education