Christopher Stanichar

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Christopher Stanichar
Johnson Fine Arts Center 120

Visiting Professor of Music/Director, Aberdeen University-Civic Symphony

School of Fine Arts
School of Fine Arts

DMA, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

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“It was as though he were telling a story with his hands.”   — Pravda Cevera (Russia)

“One of the best musical conductors to appear in Latin America”Diario Xalapa (Mexico)

"The ever-smiling and extremely animated (Stanichar) guided the Everett Symphony through a superb performance filled with wit and charm… It was the kind of charismatic interaction with the audience and orchestra that showed the brilliance of Stanichar's directorial methods."—Mukilteo Beacon (Seattle)


Dr. Christopher Stanichar (b. 1969) is visiting professor of music and director of the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony at Northern State University for the 2018-19 academic year.  He is an active conductor, composer, and educator.  He is a popular conductor, having directed some of the finest orchestras in Europe, Russia, Mexico, and the United States.  Dr. Stanichar is skilled at conducting all styles of music, whether classical repertoire, new music, or pops.  He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including Mark O’Connor, the rock band Kansas, and many other musicians.  He is also at home as an educator, working with ensembles of all ages and using his passion for music as a catalyst to get the best out of the orchestras he conducts.  The Northwest Iowa Review noted:  “[We] were impressed with his [Stanichar’s] obvious energy, great joy of directing and outright enthusiasm.”

Dr. Stanichar celebrates his seventh season as principal conductor of the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra, a hybrid orchestra consisting of paid section principals, area musicians from the tri-state area (Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota), and students, including many students from Dordt College. The orchestra rehearses at the B.J. Haan Auditorium at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.  Dr. Stanichar continues NISO’s tradition of artistic excellence, innovative programming, and collaborations with international guest artists.  He leads NISO in several concerts per season, in addition to the annual Concert for Children, where the orchestra plays for more than 1,100 area children.

Dr. Stanichar is also the conductor of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra in Southwest Minnesota (since 2010), which is a recipient of  several regional grants, and has been broadcast regionally in a holiday special with the native American band Brulé.  He also is founder and first music director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra, and has been conductor of the Northwest Iowa Symphony Youth Orchestra (since 2016).

Dr. Stanichar has conducted professional orchestras in Europe, Russia, Mexico, and the United States, including the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Sochi Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Orquesta Sinfónico Juvenil del Estado de Veracruz (Mexico), and many orchestras throughout the United States.

Dr. Stanichar earned his doctorate of musical arts in conducting at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he was a student of Gerhard Samuel.  He has taken master classes with Ilya Musin, Daniel Lewis, Gerard Schwartz, Ken Keisler, and Bystrík Režucha and others.  In 1996, Dr. Stanichar was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study conducting in Slovakia, where he appeared as a guest conductor of many top orchestras in that country.  He is the former conducting assistant for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, where he was mentored by maestros Jesús López-Cobos and Erich Kunzel.

Dr. Stanichar is an active composer; his works have been commissioned and performed throughout the world. His original work, Trisagion, was used in Ric Burns’ PBS documentary, Andy Warhol.  More recent projects include a full-length cantata, St. Mark Passion, written for the 150th anniversary of Augustana University as part of a Granskou grant.  He also composed Pink Ribbon for Susan for clarinetist Christopher Hill in honor of his wife, Susan, who fought a courageous battle with stage 4 cancer.  TrevCo-Varner Music publishes several of his works for English horn. His composition Tales of Hans Christian Andersen is the first concerto for nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument, and premiered with the Hastings Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska.  This work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2014.

In his free time, Dr. Stanichar’s interests include Russian icons, foreign languages, and biking, and he is an avid pinball player.  The most important thing to him is his family; his children are  active in the arts.  For more information about Dr. Stanichar and a catalogue of his compositions, please visit