Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra is so excited to introduce Andy Moran, the new Music Director for the 2020-2021 season. His name may look familiar because he served as the CWSO Interim Music Director for 2019-2020 season. He also played principal horn for CWSO for several years and holds the positions of Assistant Professor of Horn and Orchestral Director at UW-Stevens Point.
Andy grew up in El Paso, Texas and has two younger sisters. Music was an important part of his childhood because both of his parents were music majors in college. His mother played the piano and clarinet, and his father played clarinet and was the drum major of the marching band. Hence, Andy and his sisters took piano lessons and played in the school band. In junior high school he became more serious about music, and, in addition to piano lessons and band, he began participating in the community youth orchestra and entering competitions.
Andy decided to pursue music in college and attended New Mexico State University. He describes, “I was pretty ‘green’ when I got there, but the horn professor, Nancy Joy, saw some potential and challenged me to play in every ensemble at the school and to start teaching right away.” He discovered that he really enjoyed teaching and performing and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
After NMSU, Andy moved to Dallas to pursue a master’s degree in horn performance under the tutelage of Gregory Hustis at Southern Methodist University. Andy found moving to a bigger city with a more vibrant music community eye-opening. “It was a struggle initially, but once I started to feel more comfortable and confident I found it thrilling to be making music with such talented musicians.” It was at SMU, after completing his first year of graduate school, that Andy decided he wanted a master’s degree in conducting along with his horn performance degree. He prepared and conducted Mozart’s Prague Symphony as an audition to the program, and while he describes the experience as a bit of a blur with thoughts and information racing through his head while he was waving his arms, he was accepted into the program. Dr. Paul Phillips was his first conducting teacher, as well as his mentor who gave Andy the foundation he needed to pursue this new musical career path.
After completing his two master's degrees and knowing that he needed more experience and tutelage, he decided to get a doctorate degree in conducting with David Effron at Indiana University. Andy states “there were even more talented professors and students at IU. It again challenged me to hone my music making on the podium.” He was fortunate to be a graduate assistant in the opera department which produces 6 major works each year. This experience exposed him to some of the world’s best singers, conductors, and directors. He completed his doctorate degree in 2017.
From 2009 to 2016, Andy was the Resident Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the Music Director and General Manager of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras. During his time in El Paso, the EPSYOs grew to serve over 300 young musicians throughout the greater Southwest region. His responsibilities with the El Paso Symphony included creating and implementing all of the organization's education and outreach programs including their presentation of six annual Carnegie Hall Link Up concerts for over 14,000 area 5th grade students.
In 2016, Andy joined the UWSP faculty and moved to Stevens Point with his wife, Mary, and their two sons, Isaac and Oscar. Andy comments, “As soon as we moved here, everyone in the community made us feel so welcome. I love the fact that the community embraces family and the arts. It’s been a terrific fit for me and my family.” It seems like a natural transition for Andy to move from principal horn of CWSO to Music Director. He has clear visions and goals for the organization stating, “I think the goals for any orchestra in a community like central Wisconsin should be to engage with as much of the community as possible. My role in making that happen is to make sure that each and every concert is an exciting and entertaining experience for the audience. The repertoire has to be inspiring, both for the musicians and the audience.”
Fun Facts about Andy Moran:
1. When he was in college, the NMSU horn choir took a trip to Beijing, China to perform at the International Horn Society conference. They all took a trip to the Great Wall and performed a piece from memory on one of the great wonders of the ancient world.
2. He is a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan.
3. A few mornings a week you can find him playing racquetball or pickleball at the YMCA.
4. While he was at Indiana University, he organized a BrahmsFest and convinced 60 of his fellow students to get together on a weekend to read through all four of Brahms’ symphonies in 1 day. They took a break after the first 2, and he ordered pizza for everyone to refuel for the last 2. He describes it as a “tiresome but amazing day!”