Donald Schleicher has served as Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Illinois since 1995. He was also on the faculty of the University of Michigan for nine years. Professional positions include eight years as Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and for nine summers, he was Music Director and Principal Opera Conductor for the Pine Mountain Music Festival. In the fall of 2014, he returned to the Pine Mountain Music Festival, this time as its Artistic Director. Schleicher began his career as a high school band director in Williamsville, NY.
Schleicher has conducted the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine, the Guiyang (China) Symphony Orchestra, the Inchon (South Korea) Philharmonic, theDaegu (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM of Mexico City, the South Dakota Symphony, and the orchestras of Bridgeport, Tallahassee, and Lansing. In March of 2015, he will guest conduct the Gwangju (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra and in the summer of 2015, he will lead the Pine Mountain Music Festival's 25th Anniversary season by conducting their production of "The Barber of Seville" as well as leading the PMMF Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's monumental "Symphony No. 9."
He is frequently invited to lead performances or provide conducting master classes at many of the major music schools across the USA such as the Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Baylor University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, Ithaca College, Ohio State University, and Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. As an enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Mr. Schleicher has conducted All-State orchestras, festivals, and youth orchestras in nearly every state of the United States. He is also active as a clinician for public school music educators.
As a conducting professor, Mr. Schleicher’s class is an international draw for talented young conductors. Many of his former conducting students have gone on to hold prestigious positions with organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Metropolitan Opera, Richmond Philharmonic, the Philharmonia of Kansas City, and the Seattle Symphony.
The University of Illinois orchestral division's mission is to provide significant orchestral training and performance experience. It is hoped that the experience will be an essential, vital, and memorable part of the student's education and development at Illinois.