Organization: Detroit Symphony
Instrument / Position: Director of Education
Bio: Charles Burke is the Director of Education for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well as the Artistic Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Youth Ensembles. Under his direction, the DSO’s commitment to community engagement, high-caliber music training, and meaningful partnerships have grown and become one of the preeminent orchestral educational programs in the nation.
As an executive administrator, Burke leads a diverse array of innovative and cutting-edge programs - concert presentations, training programs and institutional partnerships. His efforts in music exposure have led to the popular DSO’s Young People’s Concerts, Tiny Tots, the DSO’s Educational Concert Series and Super Saturday’s at the Max. These programs regularly reach more than 50,000 students and families a year.
Burke also serves as the Artistic and Executive leadership for the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles, as it continues to serve as a leading supplemental music training program in the United States. Located in the Max M. Fisher’s Pincus Music Education, the Civic Youth Ensembles hosts more than 600 students per week in 10 ensembles and teaches young people in jazz, classical, chamber and wind ensemble with world-class artists. Past and future artists include Yo Yo Ma, Midori, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock and Peter Oundjian. Burke founded and administers ACES (the Association of Civic Ensembles), a separate non-profit parent organization that financially partners with the DSO to insure the growth of the programs.
As a conductor, Burke was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestras in 1999, a post he relinquished in 2006 to become Artistic Director. In 2000, Burke was the Music Director of the Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Burke has conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2001-2002 Educational Concert Series – attended by more than 16,000 children. Burke has served as a guest conductor, clinician and television educator - guest conducting the San Francisco Youth Symphony, the Interlochen High School Orchestra, the Detroit Chamber Strings, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Band, the United States Herald Trumpets, Wayne State Symphony Orchestra and appearing as musical host on the WTVS production of “Mozart, Math and Music” and Backstage Pass with the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestras.
Prior to his appointments with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Burke studied orchestral conducting at the University of Michigan. At the University of Michigan, Burke was appointed as Music Director of the Campus Symphony Orchestras as well as the Assistant Conductor of the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestras. Before his tenure at the University of Michigan, Burke was an active and sought-after guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout his native Washington DC metropolitan area. Burke was the Music Director and founder of the Fairfax Chamber Orchestra, as well as a conducting and composition fellow at several international music festivals. In 1999, Burke served as a conducting fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival under Maestro Helmut Rilling.
The son of two professional musicians, Burke began playing piano at the age of five. At age nine, he made his professional debut with the title role of Amahl in Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. Burke began his conducting training at the age of seventeen and has continued his studies with Neeme Järvi, Kenneth Kiesler, Martin Katz, Anthony Maiello, Mallory Thompson, Harold Faberman and Daniel Lewis.
Mr. Burke’s work in music education earned a nomination for the National Sallie Mae Outstanding Teaching Award. Under Burke’s leadership, his collegiate instrumental and elementary choral performance groups have been received critical acclaim for their outstanding achievements. Mr. Burke holds degrees from West Virginia University and George Mason University.
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