German conductor Dirk Meyer is Music Director of Augusta Symphony and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra in Minnesota. Having received much of his training in European opera houses, Meyer is passionate about opera and also holds the position of Music Director with the Lyric Opera of the North. He has guest conducted many orchestras throughout the United States, including the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Symphoria in Syracuse, the Orlando Philharmonic, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts, the Naples Philharmonic, and The Florida Orchestra. Other recent engagements have been with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Canada, the New Bedford (MA) and East Texas Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Sarasota Orchestra in Florida. In 2012 Meyer was named the winner of The American Prize in orchestral conducting. Over the course of his career Meyer has earned an outstanding reputation with musicians, audiences and critics, alike. His performances have been described as “most intimate and emotional,” “mesmerizing,” and “out of this world” and his personable and entertaining style has made him an audience favorite.
As a champion of orchestral music Meyer creates concert experiences that bring classical music to new audiences. These endeavors range from conversational concerts to multimedia performances and include collaborations of all kinds. One of the most adventurous collaborations he created was Runway Duluth, a fashion and music collaboration that received national recognition and redefined what the concert experience can be. Most recently Meyer created The Beethoven Project, a collaboration between the DSSO and Minnesota Public Radio: During the five years of this project the DSSO will perform and record all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and, at the same time, create concerts and events that shed a light on the master’s works and bring his music to new demographics.
Maestro Meyer is the author of “Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Repertoire. A Catalog of Modern Music”. Published by Scarecrow Press with a foreword by David Daniels, this book is a resource for conductors, librarians, and administrators, providing them with performance information to about 4000 compositions. Meyer’s special interest in contemporary music has led to him leading world premiers by composers such as Miguel del Aguila and Eve Baglarian, as well as the American or regional premiers of works by Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Joby Talbot, Elliott Sharp, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Hugo Alfven.
Outside of North America Meyer has conducted many orchestras in Europe and abroad, including appearances in South Africa, the Czech Republic, and Germany. In the operatic world he has led performances of Carmen and Don Giovanni with the Plovdiv Opera in Bulgaria and served as Assistant Conductor to the Michigan State University Opera Theatre, where he conducted Puccini’s La Bohème and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
From 2007 to 2011 Meyer served as Music Director to the Sarasota Youth Orchestras, giving his Carnegie Hall debut in New York City with the Sarasota Youth Philharmonic in 2008. Prior to his current appointments Meyer served as Associate Conductor, and later Principal Guest Conductor, of the Sarasota Orchestra in Florida. Further appointments have included Assistant positions with the Traverse Symphony (MI) and Missouri Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Music Director position with the Mason Symphony Orchestra in Michigan.
Meyer has studied with teachers like Neeme Järvi and Jorma Panula and, in addition, he assisted with numerous productions at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Germany), as well as at the Vienna State Opera (Austria) and the Teatro Real in Madrid (Spain). He holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters degrees in orchestral conducting from Michigan State University, where he worked with Leon Gregorian and Raphael Jimenez and also worked as Graduate Teaching Assistant. His Bachelor’s Degrees are from the Folkwang Conservatory in Germany (music) as well as the University Duisburg-Essen (philosophy).