Tulsa Youth Symphony

Meet the TYS Conductors

Meet Conductor Ron Wheeler

Ron Wheeler has been conductor of the Tulsa Youth Symphony since 1972. He was on the Oral Roberts University music faculty for fourteen years. He has conducted at music camps and festivals in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, California, Oregon and North Dakota. As a violinist he currently performs with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Wheeler has served in administrative capacities for the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Cascade Music Festival in Bend, Oregon and the Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming. He has also participated in conducting workshops sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra League, and has served on the faculty of Tulsa Summer Arts, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain and Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony in Arkansas.

Mr. Wheeler is an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity as a National Arts Associate. In January, 2013, he was recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Music Educators Association.

Meet Conductor Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner has been with the Tulsa Youth Symphony since 2002 as Co-Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra. He is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Tulsa, where he teaches horn, conducting, and as Director of Instrumental Ensembles, conducts the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

In addition to his conducting and teaching, he has been active for many years as a hornist in such groups as the Tulsa Philharmonic, Tulsa Opera Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Wichita Symphony, the Denver Brass and the Aries Brass Quintet. Richard has been on the faculties of Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. He holds degrees from Wichita State University, Northwestern University (IL), the University of Tulsa, and has done doctoral work at the University of Colorado. He is married to oboist and teacher Lisa Iottini-Wagner.

Meet Conductor Pete Peterson

Earl “Pete” Peterson was the first string teacher and conducted the high school orchestra at Union Public Schools for 35 years. His orchestras competed in regional and national contests everywhere from Branson, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. Mr. Peterson founded the Northeastern Oklahoma All-District String Orchestra (NOADSO) and has been an active member of Oklahoma Music Educators’ Association (OMEA) for many years.

He was the director of Tulsa Honors Orchestra for 10 years, a faculty member of Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council Summer Arts program, and was the music director for TulsaFest’s high school orchestra for 12 years. Mr. Peterson has guest conducted the Signature Symphony, and is conductor of the TCC Community Orchestra.

Peterson holds a Master of Music Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Tulsa, which he completed after obtaining a degree in music education at Towson State University in Maryland.

He has served as cellist with the Gettysburg, PA Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Ballet and Signature Symphony at TCC. He is currently a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

Meet Conductor Michael Nicholson

Michael Nicholson has enjoyed performing throughout the United States and Italy. Michael studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts and studied privately in San Francisco. After serving as Assistant Principal Second Violin in the Tulsa Philharmonic, Michael freelanced in southern California, performing in symphonies and chamber groups in Santa Barbara and Long Beach. In addition, Michael was a recording artist for many major studios, performing for film, television and commercials. He also performed in projects with The Bangles and Vitamin String Quartet and is a founding member of the Tulsa Rock Quartet. He also performs as Principal Second Violin for Tulsa Symphony, Section First Violin for Tulsa Opera and plays with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.

Meet Conductor Amelia Ivory

Amelia Ivory has been a faculty member for the Union Public Schools Orchestra program since the Fall of 2009, specializing in middle school-aged groups. Ms. Ivory is an alumni of the Tulsa Youth Symphony. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Tulsa in 2009, assisting cello under Diane Bucchianeri. She currently performs with the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and the Tulsa Signature Symphony. She also performs as a freelance artist, and maintains a private cello studio.