Conservatory of Music

From Bach to Broadway

Dwight Oltman

Professor of Conducting
Director of BW Symphony Orchestra and BW Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Music Director of BW Bach Festival

Doctoral studies, University of Cincinnati
M.M., Wichita State University

Dwight Oltman is one of the most versatile conductors in America. At BW he is conductor of both the Symphony Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Since l972 these ensembles have frequently been chosen to perform under his baton at state, regional, and national conferences and both have gained reputations for being elite undergraduate ensembles. Also Oltman has served as Music Director of the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival since 1976 and received critical acclaim as a leading Bach interpreter. The Bach Festival has performed concerts at the Festival of Festivals in Washington, D. C. at the invitation of Kennedy Center. A performance of the St. Matthew Passion was telecast on PBS stations throughout the country and many festival performances have been heard on national radio broadcasts.   During his tenure with the Festival, Professor Oltman has increased the international reputation of the festival by inviting distinguished artists from America, Canada, and Europe to join BW students and faculty in performances. 

Throughout his years on the conservatory faculty Dwight Oltman has been a very active professional conductor. Founding Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, he conducted the thirty-seven member ensemble in a wide range of repertoire. He collaborated with outstanding artists including
Oscar Shumsky, Jaime Laredo, Jose Luis Garcia, Leonard Rose, Gary Karr, the Cavani Quartet, Grant Johannesen, Peter Frankl, Manachem Pressler, Manuel Barrueco, Heidi Lehwalder, John Mack, Jeffrey Khaner, Thomas Paul, and Lucy Shelton. A review in the Akron Beacon Journal stated that “The Ohio Chamber Orchestra under its founder and regular conductor, Dwight Oltman, has gone from a pickup group to a professional ensemble with elegant precision and refinement. It can take its place among chamber groups on a comparable level with the Cleveland Orchestra among international orchestras.” His international conducting began when he was one of two Americans chosen for an international competition in Rome where he conducted the St. Cecilia Orchestra.   Since then he has conducted many orchestras including The Scottish Philharmonic in Edinburgh, the Volgograd Symphony Orchestra in Russia, the Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, the Vidin Philharmonic in Bulgaria, the Shanghai Philharmonic in China, and Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada. In the wind area he has guest conducted the Wind Symphony at the Royal Welch College of Music in Cardiff, Wales. Oltman has conducted American professional orchestras from coast to coast including the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Canton Symphony, the Denver Symphony, the Evansville Philharmonic, the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra, the Mississippi Orchestra, and the San Jose Symphony Orchestra. He has also conducted at the Colorado Music Festival and the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina.
Professor Oltman’s many years of experience as a pit conductor give further evidence of his remarkable versatility. From 1976 to 2000 he was Music Director and Principal Conductor of Cleveland Ballet. During that time he conducted performances for the company in major cities such as New York, Detroit, and Chicago. After his debut in New York, critic Byron Belt wrote: He led everything from Mendelssohn to Ives with imagination and control. . .  Oltman’s interpretation (Beethoven 7th Symphony) was on a most exalted level and the joint Ohio and New York extra players performed magnificently.” He has also conducted two programs in a week of performances at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. From 2000 to 2012 he was Music Director of Ballet San Jose in California.  During those years he made his Asian debut conducting for the company in Shanghai.   He has guest conducted Atlanta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Oakland Ballet. In 2002 he was chosen to conduct all performances at the American International Ballet Competition. Oltman has accompanied many renowned dancers including Cynthia Gregory and Rudolf Nureyev. He has collaborated with distinguished choreographers such Agnes DeMille, Fleming Flindt, and Dennis Nahat and gained a reputation as one of the premiere ballet conductors in America. In addition to ballet, he has conducted fourteen operas and thirty-six musicals in both collegiate and professional productions. Productions ranged from Oklahoma and Westside Story to The Marriage of Figaro and Tosca.
Dwight Oltman credits the career opportunities he has enjoyed to the expert training received from Pierre Monteux and Max Rudolf in conducting and composition study with Nadia Boulanger in France. 
Among his honors is a listing in Who’s Who in America and a proclamation from Mayor Michael White for “Dwight Oltman Day in Cleveland” as a “tribute of praise and gratitude for his twenty years of distinguished and dedicated service as Music Director of the of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.”


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