ONNY Hires New Music Director

Following a nearly two-year research/interview/deliberation process involving 84 applicants from around the U.S. Canada, and Europe, the Board of Directors of the Orchestra of Northern New York voted unanimously to accept the Music Director Search Committee’s recommendation to hire Michael J. Colburn, North Hero, VT, as its Music Director.

Timothy L. Savage, immediate past president of ONNY and chair of the Music Director Search Committee, said in a prepared statement, “We are grateful that the Board unanimously accepted this recommendation, and thrilled that Colburn has accepted the offer to be ONNY’s next Music Director!”

“The search committee also believed that Mike possesses the disposition, talents, and experience that will allow ONNY to continue to attract quality musicians and build on its loyal following of volunteers, donors, and concert-goers,” Savage added.

Colburn was selected for his artistic excellence, demonstrated leadership at the national level, potential for fundraising and audience development, and interest in community outreach.

"I couldn’t be more excited about succeeding Kenneth Andrews as the Music Director of the Orchestra of Northern New York!” Colburn says. “I had such a wonderful time working with the musicians of ONNY during my audition week, and greatly look forward to working with them in an effort to expand the impact of ONNY on the arts and music education landscape of the North Country."

Maestro Colburn is a freelance guest conductor and clinician who regularly leads professional and student ensembles in festivals, residencies, and a variety of other settings throughout the country.

In July 2022, he was appointed as Music Director of the Me2/Orchestra in Burlington, VT. In January 2023, he joined the faculty of the University of Vermont in an adjunct capacity.

From 2014-2022, Colburn served as the Director of Bands at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he conducted the Butler University Wind Ensemble and offered instruction in conducting, euphonium, and the history and literature of the wind band.

Colburn served for 27 years in “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, where he held various positions including Principal Euphonium (1991-1996), Assistant Director (1996-2004), and Director (2004-2014).

As Director, he was music advisor to the White House and regularly conducted the Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra at the Executive Mansion and at the Presidential Inaugurations of George W. Bush and Barack Obamas.

He was promoted to Colonel by President Bush in a private Oval Office ceremony in 2007. In 2014, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Medal of Honor by the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic Board of Directors.

He is currently Vice President for Project Enhancement for the John Philip Sousa Foundation, and is a member of Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Gridiron and Alfalfa Clubs.

Colburn’s responsibilities at ONNY will include articulating the artistic vision and direction for ONNY, recommending programs and repertoire to the Board’s Programming Committee, serving as an ambassador to all ONNY stakeholders, and working collaboratively with the Executive Director and Board of Directors on strategic planning. He will plan all artistic offerings, prepare and conduct the orchestra for concerts in 2024-2025, oversee youth programs, engage in community outreach, and help promote ONNY. His tenure begins June 3, 2024.

The Board is grateful to the Music Director Search Committee members for their 21 months of hard work and dedication identifying the next artistic leader of this 36-year-old organization.