Music Director Timothy Muffitt
Now in his 18th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony, Timothy Muffitt continues to appear with other prominent orchestras around the country. Recent seasons have included return engagements with the San Francisco Symphony and the Long Beach Symphony along with his debut at The Hollywood Bowl. Other recent engagements have taken Dr. Muffitt to the St. Louis, Tulsa, Wichita, Houston, Phoenix, Edmonton, and Spokane Symphonies, Columbus Ohio’s Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra in Chicago and the Harrisburg (PA) Symphony among others. He is also Music Director of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held for 9 years.
Along with continued growth in artistic excellence, Dr. Muffitt’s work has been marked by innovative, imaginative programming. A strong proponent of community arts education, he has been very active in the venues of radio and lecture, presenting arts-enrichment programs through a variety of formats for diverse audiences.
Formerly Associate Conductor with the Austin Symphony, Dr. Muffitt was also Artistic Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic’s Casual Classics Series in New Orleans. It was for his work in that position, that he was awarded a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the American Federation of Musicians.
Prominent performers and composers with whom Dr. Muffitt has worked include Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Andre Watts, Alicia de Larrocha, Pinchas Zukerman, Van Cliburn, Lynn Harrell, Itzhak Perlman, and composers John Cage, Joseph Schwantner, Ellen Taffe Zwilich, John Harbison, Joan Tower and Bernard Rands among others. In addition to his work with professional orchestras, Dr. Muffitt is also Music Director of the Chautauqua Institution’s Music School Festival Orchestra, one of the country’s premiere orchestral training ensembles.
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Timothy Muffitt began his musical studies at age seven on the piano and later added viola and trumpet. He received his conducting training at the Eastman School of Music, studying with David Effron, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Associate Conductor David Torns
Recently appointed Associate Conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, David Torns continues to be recognized for his vibrant personality, musical depth, and his ability to communicate an infectious joy for music to both musicians and audiences alike.
Mr. Torns also holds the post of Principal Pops Conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with pops artists such as the Wicked Divas, Spectrum Motown, Classical Mystery Tour, Doug LaBrecque, Debbie Gravitte, Christiane Noll, and Hugh Panaro. He recently collaborated with Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, and American Idol finalists Haley Scarnato, Matt Giraud, and LaKisha Jones.
Mr. Torns has worked with the Lansing Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Astoria Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Acadiana Symphony Orchestra among others.
As Music Director of the Louisiana Youth Orchestras, he is a passionate promoter of music education. Mr. Torns has appeared in concert with student orchestras throughout the United States including the Vanderbilt University Symphony, Nashville Youth Symphony, West Virginia University Symphony, the North Carolina School for the Arts “Musica Piccola” Orchestra, and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra. He conducted the 2013 All-Southern California Honor Orchestra. Mr. Torns designs and implements engaging educational concerts reaching over 10,000 students each year.
Equally at home in the theatre, David has guided the collaboration of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” since 2010. He has also led orchestras for productions by Playmakers of Baton Rouge, Theatre Baton Rouge, and Central Community Theatre.
Mr. Torns is an alumnus of many prestigious music festivals including the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and the Chautauqua Institution. He has performed in master classes with Harold Farberman, Marin Alsop, Apo Hsu, Guillermo Figueroa, Karen Deal, Eduardo Navega, Leon Botstein, Donald Portnoy, Samuel Jones, and Paul Vermel. He has also studied with Kenneth Kiesler, Markand Thakar, and Timothy Muffitt.
Mr. Torns was selected as a participant in the first Conductors Symposium with the Omaha Symphony, performing in master classes with Thomas Wilkins and Mark Gibson. Selected for the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Donald Thulean Conducting Workshop in Atlanta, he has also worked with James Paul, Robert Spano, and Michael Morgan.
A graduate of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University, Torns began his musical studies at the age of five on the violin in his native city of San Diego, California.
Chorusmaster David Shaler
David Shaler is the Director of Music and Arts at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. He has served there since 2001 as conductor of choral and instrumental ensembles, and as a singer, pianist, and trumpet player. Prior to coming to Louisiana, he conducted church choirs in Georgia and Iowa. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Iowa and has conducted collegiate choirs at that institution, as well as at Coe College in Iowa. In 2012, part of his doctoral thesis was published: a modern performing edition of an 18th Century Magnificat by the Italian composer Leonardo Leo. In 2013, he was a co-conductor for the world premiere of Robert Kyr’s cantata, Waging Peace, written for the Baton Rouge community. He also serves as an evaluator for the EBR Parish Talented Music program.
Mr. Shaler sang as a countertenor for five seasons with the professional male ensemble, Chanticleer, touring nationally and internationally in concert and making several recordings. As a countertenor soloist, he has sung for collegiate and community groups, including for the Baton Rouge Symphony and Chorus in their 2004 Messiah concert. He sang as a chorister with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus under Robert Shaw for two seasons (1986-1988), which included a European tour and several recordings. He has also participated in professional choral workshops at Carnegie Hall with conductors Robert Shaw, Peter Schreier, and Helmuth Rilling.