2018 All State Conductors

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Dr. Carolyn Barber

Carolyn A. Barber is the Ron and Carol Cope Professor of Music and Director of Bands in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Glenn Korff School of Music. She earned a B.M. in horn performance at Northwestern University, an M.M. in horn performance from Yale University, and returned to Northwestern to earn her D.M. in conducting as a student of John P. Paynter and Victor Yampolsky. 

 Dr. Barber began her career as a lecturer and assistant to the dean of the Northwestern University School of Music.  Her duties included teaching advanced conducting and directing the university’s 118-piece Concert Band.  Prior to her appointment at UNL, Dr. Barber also served as the director of bands at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Apart from her conducting and teaching at UW-L, Dr. Barber also served for five years as the principal horn of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.

 As director of bands at UNL, her teaching assignment is now a hybrid of traditional academic classes and performance-based courses.  This combination provides a rich atmosphere for the cross-pollination of ideas, techniques, and creative problem solving.  Dr. Barber’s chief area of research is conducting practice and pedagogy, with emphasis on group dynamics (flocking and influence), and the development of ensembleship through improvisation, artistic thinking, and a broad, multidisciplinary array of rehearsal techniques. She has demonstrated and elaborated upon her work at venues including the Midwest Clinic, conferences of the College Band Directors National Association, American String Teachers Association, and the National Association for Music Education, state music educators conventions, district training workshops, and masterclass/rehearsal clinics nationwide.

 Dr. Barber has received numerous awards for musical and academic achievement, including the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, a Hixson-Lied Professorship, two National Band Association Citations of Excellence, and a United States Navy Good Conduct Medal. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Band Research, and she is a regular contributor to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band reference series. In addition to her scholarly activities, Dr. Barber maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada. She is a member of Phi Beta Mu Honorary Bandmasters Fraternity, state chair and a member of the College Band Directors National Association Research Committee, a peer reviewer for the Journal of the Conductors Guild, immediate past president of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, and president-elect of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.


Kenneth Elpus

is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he prepares undergraduates to teach choral music in secondary schools, teaches graduate research methods and vocal pedagogy, and conducts the University Treble Choir. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in choral music education from The College of New Jersey and earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in music education at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Since arriving at the University of Maryland, he has conducted numerous honor choirs, prepared the UMD Concert Choir for performances with Lea Salonga, Terrance Mann, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and appeared with the UMD Treble Choir (at that time called the UMD Women’s Chorus) at the Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Prior to beginning his higher education career, he was for seven years the Director of Choral Music at Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, NJ, where, among other projects and performances, his choirs recorded the full-length album Floating Upstream, a collection of the eclectic work of Canadian choral composer Stephen Hatfield. That album, made in collaboration with and at the invitation of the composer, is available internationally in physical form and through digital distributors Apple Music and Spotify. An accomplished researcher in addition to a choral conductor, Dr. Elpus’s research and scholarly writing on music education have been published in the Journal of Research in Music EducationArts Education Policy Review, the international journal Music Education Research, and the Music Educators Journal, among other venues. Dr. Elpus presently serves on the editorial committees of the Journal of Research in Music Education and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. His research at UMD is funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the International Baccalaureate Organization

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Mr. Mark Lortz

Mark Lortz has earned accolades as a composer, arranger, performer and educator. In the fall of 2017, he was appointed the first Stevenson University (Stevenson, MD) Director of Music and still retains his duties as Director of Bands. In addition to his position at Stevenson University, he has served as adjunct Music Education Professor at McDaniel and Carroll Community Colleges, is currently a Vic Firth Marching Percussion Specialist and Scholastic Educator and brass arranger for the Drum Corps Associates Drum & Bugle Corps, The Reading Buccaneers. From 1996 to 2011, he was Fine Arts Department Chair and Band and Orchestra Director at Westminster High School in Westminster, MD. Under his leadership, Westminster’s Marching Band won several Bands of America Regional Marching Band Championship titles. Its music department was honored for Lortz’s exemplary music programs by the National Association for Music Education and the Maryland Music Educators Association, and was a Grammy Signature School semifinalist. School Band & Orchestra magazine recognized Lortz as one of the “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.”


 Mr. Lortz’s original music has premiered at the Mid West Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Bands of America National Percussion Festival and the College Band Directors National Association. “The Caw of the Wild,” his commissioned composition for the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team’s marching band, is performed at every Ravens home game. His music is published by the FJH Music Company, Northeastern Music Publications, Peermusic, TRN and Wingert-Jones music publisher. Lortz’s compositions have received awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and laudatory reviews in Gramophone and The Instrumentalist. They also made Bandworld’s Top 100 list of band compositions and sheet music company JW Pepper’s Editor’s Choice list. He arranges marching band music for high school marching bands throughout the United States. In addition to composing, Mr. Lortz adjudicates, lectures and guest conducts honor bands, community and scholastic ensembles throughout the mid-Atlantic region.


Mr. Lortz earned a University Fellowship at the Boyer College of Music and Dance of Temple University, where he is pursuing a doctorate of music education. He has earned degrees in percussion performance, music education and music composition from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. He was Associate Music Director and Principal Percussionist for the North American tour of Phantom of the Opera and Principal Percussionist with the international performing ensemble, The Dallas Brass. He has performed and recorded with premier orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony under the direction of Marin Alsop.


Mr. Lortz lives in Harford County, Maryland, with his wife, Cate, and their dog, Nolie. Visit Mark’s website: www.marklortz.com

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Nancy Menk

Nancy Menk conducts the Women’s and Collegiate Choirs at Saint Mary’s and teaches courses in conducting techniques. She loves working with women’s voices and is constantly on the lookout for interesting new music and unique performing opportunities for her choirs. An outgrowth of this interest is the publication of the Saint Mary’s College Choral Series.

She is also the founder and conductor of the South Bend Chamber Singers and serves as conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus. Avid proponents of interesting and unusual programming, the Chamber Singers won the 2004

ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, and were finalists for the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award, given annually by Chorus America, in 2000.

In February 2010 she made her fifth appearance at Carnegie Hall, conducting a sold-out performance of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna for chorus and orchestra. Dr. Menk serves regularly as a guest conductor and choral adjudicator throughout the United States. She has conducted All-State Choirs in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Dakota, Delaware, and Indiana.








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Arian Khaefi

Conductor Arian Khaefi is Assistant Professor of Choral Studies at Fullerton College where he conducts their Chamber Singers and Mens Chorale and co-coordinates a program of five choirs. From 2012 – 2017 Khaefi served as Director of Choral Activities at Towson University in Towson, MD. Also during that time, he held the appointment of Artistic Director and Conductor of Handel Choir of Baltimore, a semi-professional chamber ensemble presenting historically informed performances with period orchestra, and committing to a broad range of repertoire encompassing newly-commissioned works, as well as contemporary a cappella and accompanied masterworks. He holds D.M.A and M.M degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the University of California, Los Angeles, respectively.

Khaefi has gained national and international recognition as a clinician, conducting pedagogue, and guest conductor. Choruses under his direction have toured nationally, and have performed at the Meyerhoff, Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Khaefi has engagements in 2017 with the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Maryland All-State Senior Mixed Chorus, and Handel Choir of Baltimore.

Khaefi has prepared choruses for leading conductors including Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon, Alexander Treger, Peter Grunberg, Martin Katz, and Christopher Warren-Green. Khaefi’s guest-conducting has taken him across the Mid-Atlantic, and through Asia, and South America, and he has presented lectures and masterclasses regionally, nationally, and internationally.