In 1949, Paul Franklin, High School Orchestra Director, started the Fort Dodge String Orchestra with around 20 people. In 1958 the officers and members of this organization voted to expand into a full orchestra and changed the name to the Fort Dodge Symphony. In September of 1963 the members felt that there was a need to get a supporting organization in order to help this group grow and perform more frequently. Three Iowa State College music professors met with all those interested. As a result the Symphony Association made up of businesses, professionals and interested citizens came into existence. Doyle Andrews was elected president and James Stroud, ISU, became the conductor. This support group was in charge of the sale of season memberships, promotion of concerts, and the handling of business matters. In 1980 the title was slightly changed to Fort Dodge Area Symphony Orchestra.
Alice Hackett and others became interested in young people soloing with the symphony. In March of 1964 Steven Zehr, 19, appeared with the symphony. As a result plans were made to include a Young Artists Concert as part of the symphony season. The first concert was held January 22, 1966. Since then there have been 144 soloists featured on the annual Young Artists' Concert.
In 1982 under the association president Jeannette Miller the Young Artists' Endowment came into existence. The Endowment was to be a perpetual fund established for income to support this concert.
FORT DODGE AREA SYMPHONY DIRECTORS
1949 Paul Franklin, Fort Dodge High School Orchestra Director. He started the Fort Dodge String Orchestra in 1949. It later became the Fort Dodge Symphony and later still, the Fort Dodge Area Symphony.
1962 Orlando Nickelson, Central Webstser Community School, was active in the Fort Dodge Men's Civic Glee Club. His education included: Lee College, Cleveland, Tennessee; Wichita University, and Drake University.
1963 James Stroud, Iowa State University. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he began the study of cello at age 15. His education included: Louisiana State University and ISU where he was professor of cello, chamber music, and music history. This is the season that the Symphony Association began with people purchasing memberships for the whole season and the Board of Directors came into existence.
1965 Dr. Karl Holvik, University of Northern Iowa, Director of Bands. His education included: Eastman School of Music, University of Iowa, past president of Iowa Bandmasters Association, Choral and Band Director's National Association, American Bandmaster Association.
1967 Frantisek Smetana, Iowa State University, a faculty cellist in residence and assistant conductor of the ISU University Orchestra. He was born in Ohnistay, Czechoslovakia. His solo debut was at the age of 10, his first recording age of 14. He toured many countries in Europe.
1970 James Huffman, University of Northern Iowa, Director of Bands. His education included: Eastman School of Music, University of Iowa, past president of Iowa Bandmasters Association, Choral and Band Director's National Association, American Bandmaster Association.
1978 Ross Leeper, Eagle Grove Middle School Band Director. His bands played at the UNI Tallcorn Festival, the Iowa Music Educators Association, and the IBA Convention. He was designated "Distinguished Bandmaster of America"; in 1977 was selected as one of the ten most outstanding Music Directors in the United States.
1985 Laurence Burkhalter, Iowa State University, head of the ISU Department of Music since 1966, conductor of the ISU Orchestra, Chairman of the String Division, and Project Director of the Ames Festival Youth Symphony. He was born in Mussoorie, U. P. India, was principal viola in the Columbus Symphony and the Des Moines Symphony; the Ames Quartet. He was assistant director for the Des Moines Symphony, 1977-78.
1991 Kirk Smith, ISU, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra Activities. He was a native of Baltimore, Maryland. His education: Music Education/Performance Certificate in clarinet, Shenandoah Conservatory, Maryland, MA in conducting Lamont School of Music, University of Denver, a doctoral fellow at Ball State University.
1992 Daniel Kleinknecht, Coralville. Degrees were from Oberlin College, Indiana University, doctoral University of Iowa. Summers included Aspen Music Festival, Domaine Forget for Conductor Lauriet. He conducted the University of Iowa Opera Theater, the Center for New Music. He was a guest conductor for the Peoria Civic Opera, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Evansville Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Ensemble at Duquesne University, and Bradley University Orchestra.
1999 Dennis Root was the conductor while Daniel Kleinknecht took a year's leave of absence. He has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa. While he was the conductor of the Fort Dodge Area Symphony, he was also the Director of Secondary Orchestras for the Mason City High School and the North Iowa Symphony Orchestra in Mason City.
2001 Dimitar Nikolov, Waldorf College. He has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, "L. Pipkev" School of Music, Sofia, Bulgaria; a Master of Music in Piano Performance and in Conducting, State Academy of Music, Sofia, Bulgaria; a Master of Arts, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls; and a Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has substantial professional and academic experience both in the United States and internationally. He conducted Classical, Pops, Educational, and Outreach concerts with Symphony, Youth, and Wind Orchestras.
2004 Eric McIntyre, Grinnell College. Dr. McIntyre is an alumnus of Indiana University, where he received B.M. and M.M. degrees in music performance and was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate. He holds a D.M.A. in music composition from the University of Houston Moores School of Music. He currently serves as music director of the Grinnell Symphony Orchestra and teaches composition, music history and theory at Grinnell College.
2012 Akira Mori, Drake University. Akira Mori was born in Warabi in the Saitama prefecture of Japan. He received his bachelor of music degree in flute performance at the New England Conservatory of Music. He then received a diploma in Orchestral Conducting from Wiener Meisterkurse in Vienna. He received his master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University. In the ensuing years, he conducted and guest conducted throughout the United States, Japan and Europe. He is currently the Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor at Drake University and Conductor of the Drake Symphony Orchestra.