Christopher Stanichar
Assistant Professor of Music/Director, Aberdeen University-Civic Symphony
Johnson Fine Arts Center 120

D.M.A., M.M., Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

B.M., Central Washington University


“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)



Christopher Stanichar (b. 1969) 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. Stanichar is skilled at conducting all styles of music, whether it is the classical repertoire, new music, or pops repertoire. 


He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including members of St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Texas Tenors, Mark O’Connor, the rock band Kansas, members, and many other world-class 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 Stanichar’s obvious energy, great joy of directing and outright enthusiasm.” 


Stanichar is assistant professor at Northern State University, where he serves as the director of the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony. Celebrating its 102nd season, the orchestra is the oldest continuous orchestra in the state of South Dakota, and attracts musicians from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa, as well as the surrounding area. Dr. Stanichar is the 17th conductor of the orchestra, and proud to carry on the tradition of great orchestral music in the Hub City of Aberdeen.


Stanichar is an active professional conductor throughout the Midwest, serving as music director of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra in Southwest Minnesota (since 2010)—a recipient of several regional grants, and broadcast regionally in a holiday special with the native American band, Brulé, on Pioneer Television (Minnesota PBS).


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 participated in master classes with Ilya Musin, Daniel Lewis, Gerard Schwartz, Ken Keisler, and Bystrík Režucha, among others. 


Stanichar was conducting assistant for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, working closely with maestros Jesus Lopez-Cobos and Erich Kunzel. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship to the Slovak Republic, allowing him to study and conduct professional orchestras in the homeland of his ancestors.


He has been music director to several exceptional orchestras: Seven Hills Sinfonietta (Cincinnati), Orchestra Omaha, Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra (Omaha), the Tri-City Symphony Youth Orchestra, Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and is founding music director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra.


Stanichar is an active composer whose works have been commissioned and performed throughout the world. His original work, Trisagion, was used in Ric Burns’ PBS documentary on 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. TrevCo-Varner Music publishes several of his works for English horn. 


His composition, Tales of Hans Christian Anderson, is the first concerto for nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument, which premiered with the Hastings Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. This work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2014. 


In 2020, he was commissioned to compose the song cycle, She Loves, for colleagues Audrey Miller and Darci Bultema as part of a South Dakota Arts Council grant. In 2022, he received the prestigious Nora Staael Evert grant to write orchestral accompaniments for the band Brulé, which will debut in 2025. 


Most recently, his composition Pink Ribbon for Susan, written for his friend Susan Hill as a tribute to her battle with breast cancer, was published by Edizioni Musicali Eufonia as his first European publication.


In his free time, Stanichar’s interests outside of music include Russian icons, foreign languages, and biking, and he is an avid pinball player. The most important thing to him is his family, and his children are active in the arts. 


For more information about Stanichar and a catalogue of his compositions, please visit