Conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett
In the first decade of his career, Kyle Wiley Pickett has established himself as a true triple-threat music director: a talented and visionary musician who has earned the respect of players, soloists, boards, and audiences, an ambitious fund-raiser with an impressive track record of orchestra building, and a charismatic cultural leader in the communities he serves.
Following his doctoral studies at Peabody Conservatory with renowned conducting teacher Frederik Prausnitz, Pickett was appointed Music Director of both the Redding and Chico symphony orchestras in northern California. Within a year of these appointments, he spearheaded the merger of the two orchestras into the North State Symphony, creating a single professional orchestra that bridges two communities and ensures the future of symphonic music in the region. In its first year, the North State Symphony played 8 performances of 4 concert sets in 2 cities. In 2011-12, it will mark its 10th anniversary and perform 23 performances of 10 concert sets in 6 cities. Under Pickett’s guidance, the North State Symphony’s budget has grown fivefold from $100,000 to a half a million dollars, and the NSS has gained a reputation as the finest professional symphony in northern California.
Pickett divides his time between California and Alaska, where he is the Music Director of the Juneau Symphony in Alaska’s capital city. During his ten year tenure, the JSO has experienced unprecedented artistic and administrative growth. He has led the orchestra in such challenging works as Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, doubled the audiences and added second performances to each set, more than tripled the budget, instituted a popular pre-concert “Conversation with the Conductor” series that packs several hundred people into the hall for his entertaining lectures, and established an annual summer pops concert. He has also created a symphonic chorus, collaborated with local opera companies, and instituted live radio broadcasts and webcasts of the Sunday matinee performances.
Highlights of Pickett’s current and upcoming seasons include return engagements with the Montana Ballet Company and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra and concerts with the Springfield Symphony in Springfield, MO. Recent guest conducting engagements include concerts with the Rogue Valley Symphony in Oregon, the Guanajuato Symphony in Mexico, the University of Delaware Symphony and multiple concerts with the Santa Rosa Symphony. Pickett conducts musical theatre and opera, as well, and this year he conducted full performances of Sweeney Todd, Oklahoma!, and Little Shop of Horrors.
Pickett is a popular public speaker and is frequently invited by the Chancellor of the University of Alaska, Southeast to speak on the UAS lecture series. This winter Pickett was a featured speaker at the inaugural TEDx Redding Conference.
Pickett has given West Coast, Alaska, Mexico, and world premiere performances of new symphonic works by Lowell Lieberman, Ricardo Lorenz, Joan Tower, Joseph Schwantner, Dan Pinkston, Russell Burnham, David Colson, and Cory Cullinan. He has worked with many renowned guest artists, including award-winning pianists Jon Nakamatsu, Brian Ganz, Spencer Myer, Roy Bogas, and Alexander Tutunov, clarinetist Jon Manasse, violinists Paul and Linda Rosenthal and Nadya Tichman, soprano Heidi Melton, and percussionist Ricardo Gallardo.
Pickett is currently collaborating on a new multimedia children’s symphony concert with award winning family musician Dr. Noize - aka Cory Cullinan – titled Dr. Noize Crashes the Symphony. This wild, funny, and unorthodox introduction to the symphony breaks new ground in audience participation and will be premiered this year by the North State Symphony. This project is funded by a generous grant to the NSS by the McConnell Foundation. Pickett and the NSS can be heard accompanying Dr. Noize and Metropolitan Opera star Nathan Gunn on Dr. Noize’s latest album, The Return Of Phineas McBoof.
A native of Los Gatos, California, Kyle Pickett holds a Bachelor’s degree in music from Stanford University and a Master’s degree in choral conducting from the California State University, Chico. His Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting was conferred by the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Picket is also an accomplished flutist whose teachers include Frances Blaisdell and Robert Willoughby.
Kyle Pickett and his wife live in northern California with their two young sons.
Find out about Kyle Pickett's latest musical activities on his website: www.kylewileypickett.com