Neal Gittleman

The 2015–2016 season marks Neal Gittleman’s 20th year as Conductor of the Dayton Philharmonic. Gittleman has led the Orchestra to new levels of artistic achievement and increasing national recognition. During his tenure, the DPO has received nine ASCAP Awards for adventurous programming, the prestigious Governor’s Award for the Arts, and the DPAA now joins four other U.S. orchestras as a recipient of a prestigious Music Alive grant from NewMusicUSA, supporting Stella Sung’s three-year term as the Alliance’s Music Alive Composer-in-Residence.

Before coming to Dayton, Gittleman was Assistant Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Associate Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony, and Music Director of the Marion (IN) Philharmonic. He also served ten seasons with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, first as Associate Conductor and then as Resident Conductor.

Neal Gittleman has guest conducted many of the country's leading orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Chicago, San Francisco, Minnesota, Phoenix, Indianapolis, San Antonio, and Omaha symphony orchestras; and the Buffalo Philharmonic. He has also conducted in Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

Son of an English professor and a public school music teacher, Neal is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Yale University in 1975 and then studied with Nadia Boulanger and Annette Dieudonnй in Paris, with Hugh Ross at the Manhattan School of Music, and with Charles Bruck at both the Pierre Monteux School and the Hartt School of Music, where he was a Karl Bцhm Fellow. He was a prize winner at the 1984 Ernest Ansermet International Conducting Competition in Geneva and the 1986 Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in New York. Last spring he was honored to receive the 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts for Community Development and Participation.

At home in the pit as well as on stage, Neal has led productions for Dayton Opera, the Human Race Theatre Company, Syracuse Opera, and Milwaukee’s Skylight Opera Theatre. He has also conducted for performances of Dayton Ballet, DCDC, Rhythm in Shoes, Milwaukee Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Chicago City Ballet, Ballet Arizona, and Theatre Ballet of Canada.

Neal is nationally known for his Classical Connections programs, which provide a “behind the scenes” look at great works of the orchestral repertoire. These innovative programs, which began in Milwaukee 25 years ago, have become a vital part of Dayton’s arts scene.

Neal’s discography includes a CD of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F with Krieger and the Czech National Symphony. In addition, he and the DPO have released recordings of the Piano Concertos of Tomбљ Svoboda and of works commissioned for the 2003 centennial of the Wright Brothers’ powered flight. More recent CDs taken from live performances include works of Wagner, Franck, Elgar, Strauss, Respighi, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, William Grant Still, and Steve Winteregg. These, and recordings of other DPO performances, are available for download from the DPAA’s web site. 

When not on the podium, Neal is an avid player of golf, squash and t’ai chi ch’uan and does yoga, too. He and his wife, Lisa Fry, have been Dayton residents since 1997.