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Violin Orchestra

2021/22 Conductor Candidates

The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is in the process of searching for a new conductor and Artistic Director to lead us into the next era of our storied history. After an exhaustive search process, we are proud to present four finalists that will be leading our four symphonic concerts this year.

Silas Huff

SILAS NATHANIEL HUFF is the Director of Orchestras at Washburn University (KS), Commander of “New Mexico’s Own” 44th Army Band, Music Director of the Colorado Pops Orchestra, and Co-Director of the International Conducting Institute. He has conducted ensembles across America, Europe, and Asia. Maestro Huff’s past positions include Music Directorships at the Astoria Symphony Orchestra (NYC), University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder Concert Band, U.S. Army Orchestra (DC), Round Rock Symphony Orchestra (TX), and the Moscow Ballet’s U.S.A. east coast tours.


As a U.S. Army Music Officer, Captain Huff conducted concerts at the White House, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon, and on tour for audiences numbering in the thousands, and in recordings and broadcasts that were seen by millions of viewers.

Maestro Huff holds degrees from Texas State University and UCLA, and also studied at the Trossingen Hochschule für Musik (Germany), L’Institut Musical Provence-Aubagne (France), and University of Colorado Boulder.


Stephen Radcliffe

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.

For over a decade Maestro Radcliffe was 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.


Ernesto Estigarribia

Hailed for his "expert direction" by the Fanfare Magazine, Paraguayan conductor ERNESTO ESTIGARRBIA is Assistant Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Youth ensembles, and the conducting staff member at the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Previous posts include Music Director of the Buffalo Community Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras. 

Ernesto has guest conducted the Mankato Symphony, Rochester Symphony, Oskaloosa Music Festival Orchestra as well as several orchestras in Argentina and Paraguay. In addition to symphonic performances, Ernesto has led opera productions of Gianni Schicchi, Idomeneo, Albert Herring, and Weisse Rose.

An accomplished violist, Ernesto has performed extensively in Europe and the Americas. His festival appearances include Britten-Pears Orchestra, Orchestra of the Americas, and Festival de Música de Santa Catarina.


Ernesto holds degrees from Pittsburg State University and the University of Minnesota where he studied with Mark Russell Smith.


Howard Hsu

HOWARD HSU is the Music Director of the Valdosta (GA) Symphony Orchestra, and serves as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra Studies at Valdosta State University. Under his leadership, the Valdosta Symphony was selected as the 2014 winner of the American Prize in Orchestral Performance (community division).


Hsu has performed with the Canadian Brass, Robert McDuffie, Simone Dinnerstein, Jennifer Frautschi, Wendy Warner, Christine Brewer, Rachel Barton Pine, Orion Weiss, Stanford Olsen, Alexander Ghindin, Alexander Schimpf, Katia Skanavi, Awadagin Pratt, Elena Urioste, Amy Schwartz Moretti, the Empire Brass, and the Melodica Men, and has introduced live classical music to thousands of children in the Southern Georgia region.


Hsu has worked closely with groups dedicated to training young musicians, including the Lake George (NY) Opera Festival. Hsu has conducted the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All State Orchestra, Georgia Music Educators Association All State 9/10 Orchestra, and the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program Orchestra and String Ensemble.


Hsu received his D.M.A. from the University of Connecticut, his M.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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