Our 2019-2020 Staff & Board
Susan Larson is the founder and artistic director of the Newark-Granville Youth Symphony. From 2006 to 2010 Ms. Larson was Director of Orchestras for the Newark City Schools in Newark, Ohio. In 2009 her string orchestra, the Newark High School Sinfonia, was awarded first runner up for the National Orchestra Cup at Lincoln Center. This honor earned her orchestra a front page story in the New York Times and an invitation to the White House. The Newark-Granville Youth Symphony was then chosen to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center in 2011 and for the Ohio Music Educators Association Convention in 2009. Susan previously taught for 15 years as Director of Orchestras for the Bexley City School District, during which time her orchestras also won national recognition and invitations to perform at the White House, London, England, and at international orchestra festivals. The Bexley Elementary Honors Orchestra and Middle School Orchestras, under the direction of Ms. Larson, were also chosen to perform for the Ohio Music Educators Association Convention in 1994 and 1998.
Ms. Larson has been a clinician and conductor for school ensembles throughout Ohio. She has served on the board of the Ohio String Teachers Association , is a member of the National Conductors Guild, the Ohio Music Educators Association and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Susan currently is a violin and chamber music instructor for the Denison University Suzuki Program. She has also served as conductor of Women in Music Symphony Orchestra and as music director for productions at Otterbein College, including the award winning West Side Story.
As an active professional violinist, Susan has performed with the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Light Opera, Westerville Civic Symphony, the Blossom Music Festival, and the Si Yo Chamber Music Society. She has also performed on stage with Barry Manilow, Barry White, the Electric Light Orchestra, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Moody Blues, and Gene Bertoncini. Ms. Larson is currently a member of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra.
Susan Larson earned her BS in Music Education and violin performance at Kent State University, with violin studies under Ma Si-Hon and Stephanie Sant’Ambrosio. Her graduate work has been at The Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin, with conducting studies under Marvin Rabin, Norman Leyden and Russel Mikkelson.
Dr. Russel C. Mikkelson
Dr. Russel C. Mikkelson is completing his seventeenth year as Director of University Bands, Professor of Music (Conducting) and Area Head of Conducting and Ensembles at The Ohio State University, where he conducts the Wind Symphony, chairs the graduate conducting program, and oversees all aspects of the university's band program. Under his direction, the OSU Wind Symphony has performed at the 2003 College Band Directors National Association Convention, the 2014 CBDNA North Central Conference, and the 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2013 Ohio Music Educators Association Conventions, and has recorded five CD’s: Rest (Naxos 2012), Southern Harmony (Naxos 2009), Winds of Nagual (Naxos, 2007), Jubilare! (Mark Records, 2003) and Sounds, Shapes and Symbols (Mark Records, 2000). In a 2010 review of the Southern Harmony recording, Fanfare magazine proclaims "The Ohio State musicians play their collective hearts out and conductor Mikkelson shapes the music with a loving hand, wringing every last drop of emotion out of the music. If this does not give you goose-bumps, nothing will."
Director of the OSU Contemporary Music Festival and a staunch advocate for the creation of new works, Mikkelson also serves on the American Bandmasters Association Commissioning Committee and has instituted a program of regular commissioning projects for the OSU Bands. He has received praise from composers Leslie Bassett, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Corigliano, Michael Colgrass, Joseph Schwantner, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jennifer Higdon, Gunther Schuller, Lukas Foss, Augusta Read Thomas, Frank Ticheli and Michael Daugherty among others, for his musical realization of their compositions. Corigliano wrote, “Russel Mikkelson is a conductor who really understands my music, and that’s rare.”
Dr. Mikkelson is Past President of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, a Vice President of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), a member of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), NAfME, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Beta Mu, and an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association. An enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Dr. Mikkelson has conducted All-State Bands, Festivals, and Honor Bands across the United States and internationally. Additionally, he serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Heisey Wind Ensemble, a highly skilled community band based in Newark, Ohio. He was the recipient of the 2005 Ohio State University School of Music Distinguished Scholar Award and has published articles in The Instrumentalist and The Journal of the Conductor’s Guild. As a composer/arranger, he is published through C. Alan and Daehn Publications.
Retired Superintendent of Schools
Community member and retired teacher, Granville, Ohio
Principal/Financial Advisor, Investment Partners
Auditor of Park National Bank
Dr. Robert Raker
Retired Physician and Licking County Coroner
Retired Director of Orchestras, Newark City Schools
Home educator, coordinator and teacher in various homeschool co-ops
Senior Tax Analyst, Cardinal Heath
Reese, Pyle, Meyer PLL
Manager, Brown Distributing
Dr. Pattye Whisman, MD
Family Physician, Licking Memorial Family
McCoy & McCoy, Attorneys at Law, LLC