With the spring 2022 retirement of long-time conductor, Maestro Edward Dolbashian, the Saint Louis Civic Orchestra auditioned four qualified candidates as a possible replacement. Each will conduct one of the four concerts during 2022-2023. At the close of the season, one of the four will be selected to fill the position of permanent Music Director. Michael Mishra will open the new concert season in on November 5th. T.J. Abernathy will lead the December 3rd concert. Elke Overton takes the podium for February 25th. Stephen Radcliffe finishes the season on April 21st.

Michael Mishra

Michael Mishra is currently Director of Orchestral Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He has conducted worldwide, performing with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, the Arpeggione Kammerorchester in Austria, the Orquesta Sinfonica Uncuyo in Argentina, the Saratov Philharmonic in Russia, the Kharkov Philharmonic in Ukraine, and the Karlovy Vary Philharmonic, Hradec Kralove Philharmonic, and at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic. In 2004, he conducted the Daegu City Symphony in the premiere performance by a Korean orchestra of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2. Following this performance, the Yeong-Nam Daily wrote: “With flowing tempi and natural control of rubato, [Mishra] brought out beautifully the elaborate dialogues in Bruckner’s complexly woven collection of melodic lines. Maestro Mishra combined delicate analysis with musical charisma.”

In 2003, Michael was awarded First Prize at the Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition in Ukraine, and was a semi-finalist at the 2015 Blue Danube Opera Conducting Competition in Bulgaria.   

In the United States, Michael has conducted the Midwest Lyric Opera’s production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and has appeared with Winter Opera St. Louis in productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and Gounod’s Faust. He has served on the faculty of the Conductors Guild’s Conducting Workshops for String Educators and has twice been invited as a guest lecturer in conducting at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. He served for six years on the board of the Conductors Guild and was the Coordinator of the Guild’s national conference in 2013. He currently serves on the board of the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

Michael’s major research interest is the music of Shostakovich. His analytical volume, A Shostakovich Companion, has been acclaimed in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. He has also given papers on Shostakovich’s 7th Quartet, the cantata The Execution of Stepan Razin, the song cycle Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarotti, the first version of the 9th Symphony, and the reorchestration of Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

Terrence Abernathy, arranger, composer, conductor, educator, and horn player was granted a French horn performance degree from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, not far from his hometown of St Louis, Missouri. Shortly thereafter, he was granted back-stage access and worked closely with the St Louis Symphony, who nurtured and expanded his knowledge of classical repertoire. Abernathy has been privileged to sit with great conductors like David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Gemma New, Sameer Patel and Amy Kaiser backed completely by the generosity of the IN UNISON graduate fellowship scholarship he was awarded in early 2017. In the years since, Terrence has taught masterclasses, guest conducted, taught horn masterclasses, and judged around the St. Louis metropolitan area. Abernathy has been an instrumental music adjudicator for the St Louis Public schools. As a horn player, he is an alumnus of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Abernathy has appeared as an extra with the Southern Illinois University wind symphony under the wise baton of Dr John Bell, and the Washington University Symphony Orchestra under the skillful baton of music director Darwin Aquino. Abernathy played first tenor horn in an internationally ranked brass band from 2016-2019. Saint Louis Brass Band is comprised of professional brass players, educators, and gifted college students from around the area. Abernathy has studied with Associate Principal of the Saint Louis Symphony, Thomas Jöstlein, Stephen Hanrahan, Helena Giammarco, Kristen Tenwolde, and Julia Erdman. Abernathy has also worked with Roger Kaza, Principal horn of the Saint Louis Symphony, during masterclass work. Abernathy has many mentors: Dr. Jennifer Moder-Bell (McKendree University), Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds (O’ Fallon Township HS), David Boggs (EIU), Joseph Padawan (Rockwood Summit HS), Pat Sheridan (Arizona State), Matt Haroff (Avon HS), Dr Joseph Welch (Blackburn), Dr Phillip Whilhem, and Evan Hinds (O’Fallon Township HS) have all shaped his personal teaching philosophies. Abernathy was also the assistant director of the marching band at Hazelwood Central HS with Mark Thomas, where they had great success during his time there. Abernathy also assisted closely with Central’s competitive indoor winter drumline. Abernathy recently lead the Gateway Festival Orchestra in summer 2022. 

Elke Overton is currently Associate Professor of Music at Jefferson College where she is
directing the Wind Ensemble and chamber ensembles, as well as teaching Conducting, Music
Literature / History, Music Appreciation. Ms. Overton has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music
Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters Degree in Wind Conducting from
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ms. Overton has studied conducting
with wind conductors across the nation, including Frank Battisti, Alan McMurray, Mallory
Thompson, Rod Winther, Jerry Junkin, Bob Reynolds and Wayne Jeffreys. She has been
teaching and playing saxophone in the St. Louis metro area since 1993. She also remains
active with professional organizations including the Conductors Guild, CBDNA, WASBE and MMEA. Ms. Overton has extensive experience teaching music at all levels - elementary, middle school, high school, community college and university. Ms. Overtons additional experiences are with UMSL as the Director of Wind Ensembles,
Washington University, St. Charles Community College, and Webster University. At Washington
University, she assisted with rehearsals with the Orchestra. At SCC, she worked as the
Instrumental Music Coordinator and Assistant Music Professor; conducted both the Concert
Band and the Orchestra; taught courses in the Music Department, including Music History and
Conducting; and taught the woodwind studio. She also taught classical saxophone at both
Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis

Since his Lincoln Center conducting debut in 1986, STEPHEN ROGERS RADCLIFFE has been recognized for his electrifying, musically acute performances, his passionate dedication to the nurturing of young talent and his innovative approach to audience development and artistic enrichment in the musical institutions with which he has served.

Currently the Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Missouri, Maestro Radcliffe previously served as the Director of the Seattle Conservatory of Music and Music Director of both the Marrowstone Music Festival and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras; America’s largest youth orchestra training program. An artist, educator and scholar, Maestro Radcliffe was the Harry and Mildred Bemis Endowed Fellow in Musicology at Brandeis University, Director of Orchestra and Opera Programs at the University of Massachusetts, and Staff Conductor of the Boston Lyric Opera, Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

From 1987 to 1997 Mr. Radcliffe was the Music Director of the New York Chamber Ensemble, which appeared regularly at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, as well as on recordings, radio broadcasts and international tours. As Principal Guest Conductor of the Hungarian Virtuosi, Maestro Radcliffe performed at the Franz Liszt Academy and Pest Vigado in Budapest, as well as on international tours, radio and television broadcasts and recordings.

Stephen Rogers Radcliffe is equally at home in the repertoire of symphony, ballet, opera and musical theater. For nearly a decade he conducted the  Pacific Northwest Ballet, leading the company in its educational concerts and its NEXT STEP Choreographers Showcase performances. His work with the Seattle Opera includes three world premiere performances as part of the company’s “Our Earth” commissioning project and, in 2017, he returned to the Seattle Opera for performances of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.” He has conducted the major operatic works of Puccini and Verdi, and has led “Opera in the Park” performances for thousands of music lovers in New York City. His Albany Records CD of operatic works by Gian Carlo Menotti, Douglas Moore and Paul Hindemith has been acclaimed in Gramophone and the American Record Guide.

The roster of internationally acclaimed artists appearing in concert with Maestro Radcliffe is both distinguished and varied. Recent collaborations include performances with pianists Van Cliburn and Andre Watts; Metropolitan Opera stars Frederica von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, Susan Graham and Veronika Kinces, and pops artists the Moody Blues, Blood Sweat and Tears and P.D.Q Bach. Guest conducting has taken Stephen Rogers Radcliffe to leading orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latin America, Africa and China. He has also been widely heard in annual broadcasts over National Public Radio.

An enthusiastic advocate of the composers of our own time, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe has commissioned and premiered numerous works, including major compositions by the distinguished American masters John Corigliano, John Harbison, George Rochberg, Ned Rorem, Aaron J. Kernis and Joan Tower. Critically acclaimed recordings of 20th Century scores include “The Music of George Rochberg” on the New World label, and “American Portraits,” featuring chamber orchestra works by Copland, Griffes, Piston and Rorem, on Albany Records.

A prize winner of the 1988 Arturo Toscanini International Conductor’s Competition, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe was a student of Leonard Bernstein, Franco Ferrara and Gustav Meier. He has conducted at the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals as well as at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.