The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Association announced the retirement of long-time conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Gary Wilkes, as of May 15. Mr. Wilkes is also retiring from his position as orchestra teacher at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (CSAS).
Mr. Wilkes joined the CSOYO in 1993. At that time, the YO consisted of just one orchestra.
Under his direction, the group grew tremendously, and a second full orchestra was added in 1998 under the direction of Ms. Sandy Morris. Two training string orchestras were added in the years following. Today, in large part due to his leadership, the CSOYO consists of four youth orchestras and several chamber ensembles that serve 200 of Chattanoogas finest young musicians each season.
A native Chattanoogan, Mr. Wilkes is an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he received his bachelors degree in Music Education. After graduation, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and was awarded a Master of Music Diploma in Bassoon Performance. There he studied conducting with James Rives-Jones, Associate Conductor with the Dallas Symphony and Colorado Symphony. Over the past 38 years, he has taught ...