Currently in his twenty-second season as Artistic Director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, NEAL GITTLEMAN enjoys a career and reputation of international dimensions.
With the historic merger of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra into the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance in July 2012, Mr. Gittleman’s expanded conducting duties include frequent performances with the Ballet and Opera. In May 2014, he was awarded a 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Neal Gittleman graduated from Yale University in 1975. He continued his musical studies with the eminent teachers Nadia Boulanger and Annette Dieudonné in Paris, Hugh Ross at the Manhattan School of Music and Charles Bruck at both the Pierre Monteux Domaine School and the Hartt School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Karl Böhm Fellowship. In 1984, he was the Second Prize Winner of Geneva's Ernest Ansermet International Conducting Competition, and, two years later, he was awarded Third Prize at the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in New York City. In 1989, he was selected for the American Conductors Program at the American Symphony Orchestra League's annual conference in San Francisco.
Neal Gittleman's conducting career began in 1981 as Assistant Conductor of the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and the Hartt Opera Theater. Subsequently, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra (under the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program) and as Associate Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He was also the distinguished Resident Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for three seasons, preceded by six years of service as its Associate Conductor. For four seasons, starting in 1998, Mr. Gittleman led an annual three-concert series of "Classical Connections" with The Phoenix Symphony, and, for five seasons - from 2000 through 2005, he led the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s series of "Discovery Concerts." As guest conductor, he has appeared with numerous orchestras, including l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Alabama, Chicago, Indianapolis, Oregon, New Jersey, Phoenix, Saint Louis, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle symphonies, the Minnesota, Philadelphia and National Repertory orchestras and the Buffalo and Rochester
philharmonic orchestras as well as the ensembles of Anchorage, Bangor, Baton Rouge, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, El Paso, Eugene, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Knoxville, New Haven, Omaha, San Jose, Springfield and Chicago's Grant Park and Oregon's Britt Music Festivals. He has also conducted Canada's Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra London, México City’s Orquesta Filamónica de la Ciudad de México, UNAM Philharmonic and Orquesta Cámara Bellas Artes, Bosnia’s Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and Germany's Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and led performances of Handel's Messiah in Tokyo and Osaka.
At home in the opera pit as well as on the concert stage, Neal Gittleman has conducted for the Dayton Opera, Hartt Opera Theater, Syracuse Opera Company, Milwaukee's Skylight Opera Theatre and Dayton’s Human Race Theatre Company. He has also led performances of the Milwaukee Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Chicago City Ballet, Ballet Arizona and Theatre Ballet of Canada.
As Artistic Director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Neal Gittleman regularly conducts classical, Pops, educational and summer concerts. In addition, he leads the orchestra's nationally known "Classical Connections," a popular and innovative series offering audiences a "behind-the-scenes" look at masterpieces of the symphonic repertoire. His first CD with the DPO, "Tomas Svoboda - Piano Concertos," was quickly followed by "Gershwin in Prague" with the Prague National Symphony Orchestra; both albums are available on the Artisie 4 Recordings label. In 2004, Albany Records released "A Celebration of Flight," comprised of new scores by William Bolcom, Robert Xavier Rodríguez, Michael Schelle and Steven Winteregg. His most recent recordings appear on the DPOalive label: William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1 ("Afro-American") and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6; Elgar’s In the South, Wagner’s A Faust Overture, Franck’s Symphony in d; Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagète.
Neal Gittleman and his wife, Lisa Fry, make their home in Dayton.