The American conductor and teacher, Dwight Oltman, earned hos Master of Music degree from M.M., Wichita State University, and had his Doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati. He received the expert training from Pierre Monteux and Max Rudolf in conducting, and Nadia Boulanger in composition.
Dwight Oltman, Professor of Conducting, is described by critic Henry Ingram as a “conductor of impressive control and polished technique”, Dwight Oltman is one of America’s most versatile conductors. Currently the Director of the venerable Bach Festival, the Symphony Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music. He is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of Ballet San Jose in California. He has frequently conducted Baldwin-Wallace ensembles at state, regional, and national conferences.
Founding Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra in 1972, Oltman built the 37-member ensemble into one of America’s premier chamber orchestras during his twenty years of leadership. With the orchestra he conducted an enormous range of repertoire and collaborated with many eminent artists including Leonard Rose, Oscar Shumsky, Josef Gingold, Jaime Laredo, José-Luis García, Kyoko Takezawa, Grant Johannesen, Anton Kuerti, Peter Frankl, Malcolm Bilson, Gary Karr, Heidi Lehwalder, Manuel Barrueco, Franklin Cohen, John Mack, Jeffrey Khaner, Eric Ruske, Bernard Adelstein, Erie Mills, Thomas Paul, and Lucy Shelton. The music critic for the Akron Beacon Journal wrote that “The Ohio Chamber Orchestra under its founder and regular conductor, Dwight Oltman, has gone from a pickup group to a professional ensemble with elegant precision and refinement. It can take its place among chamber groups on a comparable level with the Cleveland Orchestra’s position among international orchestras.”
Dwight Oltman has a distinguished career as a ballet conductor. From 1976 to the year 2000 he served as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Cleveland Ballet, leading hundreds of performances in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit. In Europe he conducted a week of performances at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. He has accompanied renowned dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Cynthia Gregory and collaborated with noted choreographers including Agnes de Mille, Fleming Flindt, and Dennis Nahat. Maestro Oltman has also worked in the pit conducting operas and musicals. The list of opera productions includes The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Prince Igor, The Bartered Bride, Die Fledermaus, Orfeo and Eurydice, The Old Maid and the Thief, and Die Kluge. He has also conducted classic musicals such as Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Mame and Company.
Conducting engagements have taken Oltman to many American cities, to Canada, to Europe, and to Asia. A partial list of international orchestras includes the St. Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the Volgograd Symphony Orchestra in Russia, the Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra in Edinburgh, the Vidin Philharmonic in Bulgaria, Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada and the Shanghai Philharmonic in China. Orchestras Dwight Oltman has conducted in America include the San Jose Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Evansville Philharmonic, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra, and orchestras at the Colorado, Eastern, Cullowhee, and Cranbrook festivals.
Further evidence of Dwight Oltman’s versatility is his reputation as a leading Bach conductor. As Music Director of the Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival he has brought an international flavor to the festival by inviting distinguished artists and lecturers from Canada and Europe, including Kurt Equiluz, Frans Brüggen, Ruud van der Meer, Anner Bylsma, Peter Hurford, Elizabeth Wallfisch, Ingeborg Danz, Janice Taylor, Arleen Augér, Lois Marshall, Karl Markus, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Alfred Dürr, Quink, and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. He has conducted most of the orchestral works of J.S. Bach, dozens of cantatas, and multiple performances of the four large choral works. Oltman has conducted the festival in Washington D.C. at the invitation of the Kennedy Center for their “Festival of Festivals”. Radio and television broadcasts of festival concerts have been heard throughout America.
Among his many honors is a listing in Who’s Who in America and a proclamation from Mayor Michael White for “Dwight Oltman Day in Cleveland” as a “tribute of praise and gratitude for his twenty years of distinguished and dedicated service as Music Director of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.”