Entering his seventh and final season as Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, American conductor Chelsea Tipton II has won over audience and critics alike with his vibrant musicality, accessibility, versatility, and extraordinary commitment to education outreach. In the Fall of 2009 Tipton will be starting his tenure as Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont. As a sought-after guest conductor, Tipton has appeared with major orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra among others. In 2004, Tipton led the Boston Pops Orchestra in their annual Gospel Night Concert that the Boston Globe called an “Impressive debut”.
The 2009-10 season will include guest conducting engagements with the Atlanta Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival in addition to regular Toledo Symphony season appearances that feature him in the Classics, Pops, and Family Concert series. Last season marked Tipton’s return to Carnegie Hall conducting the Sphinx Competition Showcase gala concert that was the culmination of a ten city tour with the orchestra. Other highlights include a last minute replacement for Robert Spano to conduct an all-Gershwin season finale with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The New York Times applauded Tipton for “[leading] sweeping and vibrant performances of “Rhapsody” and “An American in Paris.”
His strong commitment toward education is shown though his dedicated work with the Sphinx Competition to promote African American and Hispanic emerging artists in classical music, in addition to working with the New World Symphony to involve local high school students in concerts. Prior to his appointment with the Toledo Symphony, Tipton was Associate Conductor with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra for four seasons and Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra for three seasons. He has held faculty positions at Central Michigan University (CMU) as Assistant Professor where he was Director of the CMU Symphony and a Visiting Professor in clarinet and chamber music at Western Michigan University. He has served on the faculty of the Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival in New Hampshire, and served four seasons as Assistant Conductor with the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina during the summers.
Tipton earned a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance from the Eastman School of Music, with additional studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine. As a clarinetist, Mr. Tipton has performed with several orchestras, including the Rochester Philharmonic, the Heidelberg Festival Opera Orchestra (Germany), and the Chicago Sinfonietta. He has appeared on the NBC Today Show with Wynton Marsalis and has performed as a section clarinet player with James Galway and the Eastman Philharmonia, Wynton Marsalis and the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on recordings with RCA Classical, CBS Masterworks and Pro Arte labels.