David comes to the Missoula Symphony as our new Executive Director with a strong instrumental background and long history of leading companies that have excelled at inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. His balanced approach to arts and education nurtures and fosters cross-cultural environments that enable people to fully engage in the arts.
A native Saint Louisan, he began his career in the arts as a performer, making his professional symphonic debut in the title role of Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas cantata with the Bach Society of Saint Louis and Saint Louis Symphony at twenty. Following apprenticeships in Santa Fe and Lake George, he was an artist in residence with Wisconsin Opera Theatre and The North Carolina Opera.
He has performed with the Charlotte Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony and appeared with The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Francisco Opera, Oakland Opera, Opera Carolina, and Florentine Opera.
Musical theatre audiences have seen his work at The Municipal (MUNY) Opera in Saint Louis, The North Carolina Theatre, and on national tours of The Music Man and Man of La Mancha.
He has led opera companies in Cleveland, Charlottesville, Amarillo, San Antonio, Madison, and the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. In addition to his experience producing opera and musical theater, he is among the sector’s leading authorities on arts and education.
In Cleveland, he formulated the company’s strategy for the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan Grants and secured crucial pandemic relief funding from the Small Business Administration. He charted a responsible path for the opera’s return to the stage as COVID-19 restrictions eased – advocating for increased civic participation in the arts through imaginative educational initiatives and collaborations with other regional arts organizations. In Charlottesville, he mounted a successful 2020 summer festival and introduced the company’s first small production in an alternative venue.
In Amarillo, he worked with over 150 educational and social service organizations to strengthen the region’s cultural fabric by making arts participation and attendance free to thousands that would have otherwise not had access to the arts. The season grew from four to seven productions – and four to twenty-three performances. He produced nine LatinX, six African-American, two Native American-themed productions, and an acclaimed production of Brundibar. He was the company’s executive producer and on-air host of a collaboration that aired annual productions on PBS.
Previously, he served as Director of Development at the Wisconsin Historical Foundation. He also served as CEO of Opera for the Young in Madison, Wisconsin and Triangle Opera in North Carolina and on the faculty of Amarillo College.
He has held memberships in the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, OPERA America, the National Opera Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the NAACP, Actors’ Equity, and the American Guild of Musical Artists. He was a voting delegate at the 2016 International Rotary Convention in Seoul.
O’Dell holds a Bachelor of Arts, Business Management (summa cum laude) from Concordia University-Wisconsin and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University.
Born and raised in Montana, Peter McKenzie earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from the University of Montana, and his Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Peter has served as the Missoula Symphony Association’s Director of Operations since 2014. During his tenure, he’s worked with many artists and ensembles, including Tim Fain, Jennifer Frautschi, Robert McDuffy, Anderson & Roe, Brooklyn Rider, Tim Ryan Rouillier (“My Grandpa’s Fiddle"), Brandon Ridenour, Laquita Mitchell, and more.
Peter has been part of the development of the Montana Suzuki Institute, Ovando Gran Fondo, Symphony Cabaret series in collaboration with The Top Hat, Symphony Soiree, and most recently Missoula on Main’s New Year’s Eve Candlelight Symphony performance. He also serves on the MSA Finance, Events, and Programming committees.
As a composer, his compositions have been performed throughout the United States, including a performance at the Aspen Music Festival. World premieres of his music include performances in Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Abuja, Nigeria; and ACDA’s All Northwest Convention.
Peter was recognized as an Arts Missoula Star in 2019.
Outside of the symphony office, Peter loves spending time with his family, camping, golfing, going to Griz games, and enjoying a freshly poured Bayern Pilsner.
For thirteen years, Kirsten served as second flute in the Missoula Symphony, but is thrilled to serve the Missoula Symphony Association in a whole new capacity! She is a graduate of the University of Montana with a master’s degree in Flute Performance. For years, Kirsten has had a large and thriving flute studio and has been very involved with the Missoula community music scene: adjudicating, offering masterclasses and workshops to flutists in our local schools, co-directing the Missoula community flute choir “Zootown Flutes,” and teaching music classes through the program “Center for Music by People with Disabilities.” Kirsten also recently served as director of 2 Valleys Stage, a performing arts series and school outreach program based out of Seeley Lake.
When she isn’t playing/teaching, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their two kids on a hiking trail, biking or playing outside!
Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Beth Woody received her Recreation Management degree from South Dakota State University. A successful 26-year career with the YMCA took her from Rapid City, South Dakota, Winter Park, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas to Missoula, Montana. Her YMCA responsibilities included program management, human resources and special events including the race director of the YMCA Riverbank Run. Beth is very involved in the Missoula community and enjoys spending time with her adult children, Callie, Megan and Grant.
Originally hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Sylvia Oman moved to Missoula in 2007 to work in administrative and leadership positions with local non-profit organizations. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a Masters of Music in Pedagogy from Boise State University. She is a certified teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has a full studio of violin students, ages 6 to 60+. She has played in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and the Helena Symphony Orchestra, as well as other ensembles in the area.
A Missoula native, Olivia Adams graduated from the University of Montana in 2020 with degrees in oboe performance, nonprofit management, and entertainment management. Since 2016 she has played in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra as their second oboist and joined the Missoula Symphony Association as an intern in 2019. She now serves as the MSA’s social media coordinator, stage manager, and Symphony in the Park coordinator.
When she’s not working or playing for the symphony, she enjoys hiking with her dog, traveling, and trying new coffees.
Suzanne began life in Rochester, New York where her father was studying at Eastman School of Music. Her grandmother (a violinist and pianist) introduced Suzanne to the violin at age 5. In 1977 she moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Resource Management. She joined the Missoula Symphony as a violinist in the early 1980s. After many years she added responsibilities as Music Librarian for the Symphony – a role she loves because it keeps her connected to the musicians of the orchestra. Suzanne has maintained a small violin studio in her home for 35 years. She and her husband have raised six children (all of whom are musicians). She plays violin regularly for her church and enjoys providing music for weddings and other special events. When not in her studio or organizing music for the Symphony, Suzanne can be found spending time with grandkids, reading, creating handmade cards or camping.
Abigail has been singing with the Symphony Chorale for over a decade, and has been serving as the Chorale librarian for almost as long. When she's not organizing stacks of music, you might find her dancing, singing, gardening, cooking, yoga-ing, or hiking and playing with her family in the mountains around town.
Pri Fernando, Treasurer
Mark Haythornthwaite, Secretary
Bill Johnston, Vice President*
Deborah Stapley-Graham, President
Jim Valeo, Past President
Adam Collins, Orchestra Representative
Robin Kendall, Chorale Representative
David O'Dell, Executive Director
Julia Tai, Music Director
Dean Peterson, Chorale Director
*Members of the Executive Committee
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