Conductor and cellist Thomas Fortner is equally at home on the podium or with a cello. An active conductor, chamber musician, and soloist, he has performed concerts in Europe and across North America.

Founder and Artistic Director of the Iowa Great Lakes Music Festival, Fortner was most recently Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra. As the Graduate Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Concert Orchestra, he led performances of the Peabody Symphony and Conductors Orchestra during the 2016-2017 season.

In the 2016 season, Fortner served as assistant conductor for the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Library of Congress during their revival of the original Ballet to Copland’s Appalachian Spring. As cover conductor for the Concert Artists of Baltimore, he served under Maestro Ed Polochick.

Additionally, Fortner has collaborated in workshops and masterclasses with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New Symphony of Bulgaria, the Akademisches Orchester Zurich, the Orchestre de la Francophonie in Quebec, and McGill Beethoven Orchestra, and lead rehearsals for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.

Fortner has participated in masterclasses held by Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin, Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, the Guarneri, Parker, New Orford and Pacifica String Quartets, cellists Ralph Kirshbaum, Pieter Wispelwey and Fred Sherry, violinist Irvine Arditti, organized a class lead by conductor Michael Tilson- Thomas, and received additional coaching with Wolfgang Redik, and Matt Haimovitz.

Fortner was a member of the final conducting class selected by the late Gustav Meier to attend the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Marin Alsop and Markand Thakar, completing his Graduate Performance Diploma in conducting in 2017. Additionally, Fortner completed a Bachelors and Masters of cello performance at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Fortner plays on a cello made in 2006 by American luthier Raymond Joseph Melanson.

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