“…There was a long applause at the end of the concert, and Stanichar rewarded the audience with a performance of his work entitled Poem…Stanichar is a very romantic and sincere composer, whose works disprove the notion that the avant-garde aesthetic is the major musical trend in the United States…The author of the Poem has seemed to escape this tyranny. Stanichar prefers the romantics.”
— Petersburg: Letopice Kulturi I Iskusstva
(Petersburg: Chronicle of Culture and Arts)
January 2004, by Alexander Epishin
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, and he has accompanied a wide variety of artists, including Mark O’Connor, the rock band Kansas, and many other great musicians. He is also at home as an educator, working with ensembles of all ages, using his passion for music as a catalyst to get the best out of the orchestras he conducts, as noted in the Northwest Iowa Review: “[We] were impressed with his [Stanichar’s] obvious energy, great joy of directing and outright enthusiasm.”
Stanichar celebrates his sixth season as Principal Conductor of the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of some of the finest musicians from Iowa and South Dakota. He was appointed to this position in 2011, following a number of guest appearances. He continues NISO’s tradition of artistic excellence, innovative programming, and collaborations with international guest artists. Stanichar leads NISO in several concerts per season, in addition to the annual Concert for Children, where the orchestra plays for over 1100 school children from the area. He is also the conductor of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra in Southwest Minnesota (since 2010), which is a recipient of several regional grants, and was broadcast regionally this past December in a Holiday special with the native American band, Brulé. Stanichar is also a dedicated educator, and is the founder and first Music Director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the current conductor of the Northwest Iowa Symphony Youth Orchestra (since 2016).
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 also taken master classes with Ilya Musin, Daniel Lewis, Gerard Schwartz, Ken Keisler, and Bystrík Režucha, among others. In 1996 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.
Stanichar is an active composer and his works have been commissioned and performed throughout the world. You may have heard his original work, Trisagion that was used in the 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 Anderson, is the first concerto for nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument, which premiered with the Hastings Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska, and the work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2014.
In his free time, Christopher’s interests outside of music include Russian icons, foreign languages, biking, and he is an avid pinball player. The most important thing to Christopher is his family, and his children are active in music.