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It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of you to the Hays Symphony. It is truly an honor to be given the chance to lead the symphony through the excellent season we have planned. I am looking forward to working with this wonderful group of musicians, board members, staff, and volunteers as we bring the magic of music to life. I invite you to join us on this exciting journey, and I look forward to seeing you at the concerts!

Brian Buckstead

My Story

Dr. Brian Buckstead enjoys a thriving career as a violinist, violist, conductor, and educator, having studied and performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Appearing as soloist with numerous ensembles, his eclectic repertoire includes Carmen Fantasy by Sarasate, The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Havanaise by Saint-Saëns, the Concertino for Violin and Wind Octet by Robert Linn, Strings and Threads by Mark O'Connor, and the violin concertos of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Philip Glass. Brian also gave the world premiere performance of Latent Emotions for solo violin and symphonic wind ensemble by award-winning Spanish composer Oscar Navarro. Brian is the featured soloist on the CD Baroque Masterworks by the Beloit Janesville Symphony, playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. His new album, Forgotten de Bériot: Virtuoso Opera Fantasies, will be released in both digital download and CD formats in summer 2019. 

Dr. Buckstead’s repertoire as a conductor is extensive and eclectic, having conducted works from Monteverdi to John Adams. Brian has conducted the Beloit College Orchestra, the Gustavus Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy Orchestra of Medicine Hat College in Canada, and the University of Minnesota Duluth Chamber Orchestra. He has been the conductor and string camp director of the North Shore Summer Music Experience in Duluth since 2013. Additionally, Brian has been guest conductor and clinician at numerous music festivals featuring the top string students from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. 


Brian is also passionate about the education of young musicians. In addition to adjudicating local and national music competitions, he co-developed Bring Back the Music, an initiative to bring string instrument education to two underprivileged public schools in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Dr. Buckstead received his Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College, and his Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, all in violin performance. His teachers have included Beatrix Lien, Charles Gray, Jennifer John, and David Perry. Brian has held positions at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Medicine Hat College in Alberta, Canada, Gustavus Adolphus College, Beloit College, and has been a guest lecturer at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Dr. Buckstead has thoroughly researched the teaching and philosophy of John Kendall, one of the world’s great string pedagogues and the pioneering developer of the Suzuki Method in the United States. His research culminated in the dissertation entitled A Maverick Pedagogue: The Teaching and Ideas of John Kendall. 

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