Dr. Kevin F.E. Sütterlin is an internationally sought-after conductor and pedagogue. He belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates a percentage of their concert fees to organizations they care about.
Sütterlin is Director of Orchestral Activities and Opera and Associate Professor of Conducting at Concordia College. Under his direction, The Concordia Orchestra has won the prestigious American Prize in 2018-19. He and his colleagues and students received two EMMY awards for the nationally broadcast Concordia Christmas Concert productions in 2016.
Sütterlin is Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra — one of Wisconsin’s finest professional orchestras — which is currently a finalist for the American Prize professional orchestra division 2023 (Sütterlin himself is also currently a finalist in the professional conducting division). Together with his best friend, Dr. Mathias O. Elmer, he is Music Co-Director of Sinfonietta Memphis, an ensemble that provides free concerts and educational experiences for the Greater Memphis communities. Celebrating the orchestra’s tenth season, and perhaps the only orchestra in the U.S. with a co-directorship model, Sinfonietta Memphis’s conductors Elmer and Sütterlin proudly represent the orchestra’s credo: friendship through music. They also co-direct The Sinfonietta Academy for Historically Informed Performance Practice which has recently been recognized as one of the country’s leading period performance practice institutes. In 2019, Sütterlin was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Qingdao Concert Hall Symphony in China, and in 2021 Honorary Conductor of K-Classic Orchestras, a Korean organization dedicated to contributing to world peace through musical and cultural exchange. Sütterlin furthermore serves as Principal Guest Conductor of Fargo-Moorhead Opera, where he recently directed productions of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel to great acclaim, and where he will return again this season.
Considering himself a “citizen of the world,” Sütterlin has been building musical bridges across four different continents and has led his ensembles on many successful national and international tours. He has performed and taught across the globe including Austria, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. He has taught at Shanghai Conservatory, Sichuan Conservatory, Ocean University Qingdao, University of Cape Town, University of Hawaii, Musikhochschule Luzern, University of Memphis, and Virginia Tech University. Highlights of his upcoming guest conducting season include engagements at the University of Hawaii, VT Philharmonic, and a multi-concert tour with the Bulgaria Sinfonietta Vidin.
With a great love and passion for teaching, Sütterlin is also Artistic Director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras, and holds The Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Endowed Orchestra Chair of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, directing the organization’s orchestral and conducting programs. He has been recognized as one of the country’s leading conducting pedagogues, being praised for his keen analytical eye and deep understanding of conducting technique and physique, paired with a kind and caring approach that has empowered over 150 conductors and conducting students across the globe so far. He is a much sought-after clinician for regional, state-wide, national, and international music festivals and workshops.
Championing the music of living as well as historically under-represented composers, Sütterlin commits to broad and diverse programming on every single concert with all of his ensembles. Using his own funds, Sütterlin commissions between three to six new works every single year. He has commissioned and recorded works of numerous living composers, including Stella Sung, Theresa Martin, Christopher Ducasse, Evan Williams, René Clausen, Adam Hochstatter, Dan Perttu, Paul Cravens, Russ Peterson, and Doug Harbin, among others. He has been recognized as one of the world’s leading scholars of the music of late American composer Dominick Argento, sharing a close friendship with Argento until his death in 2019. Sütterlin’s recording collaborations include numerous CD and DVD productions. From 2011 until 2018, he served on the board of directors of the Zurich Music Association Switzerland, re-designing training curricula for both amateur as well as professional musicians that fit the needs of the 21st century. Sütterlin further serves on the board of the Miller Family Music Education Scholarship through the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
Sütterlin received his doctorate and master’s degrees in orchestral conducting from The University of Memphis where he studied with Dr. Pu-Qi Jiang and Michael Stern, and a bachelor’s degree in conducting from the Hochschule Luzern – Musik, Switzerland. Furthermore, he has earned a certificate in Inclusive Teaching and Diversity Leadership. Sütterlin is an awardee of the Hirschmann Foundation Prize of Switzerland, the Hendrickson Fine Arts Grant, the University of Memphis International Research scholarship, and the University of Memphis Creative Achievement Award.
In his free time, Sütterlin loves to spend time with his wife April, and their three cats. He loves traveling and learning from different cultures. Sütterlin is a Super Mario aficionado — daily references to the game in rehearsals substantiate (t)his claim. The introvert’s secret life goal is to one day own a lighthouse in which he could get stuck during high tides and study scores while listening to the crashing waves.
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts The Concordia Orchestra in Florence Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts the Fox Valley Symphony in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts the Fox Valley Symphony in José Elizondo’s The Night Flower:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts the Fox Valley Symphony in Stella Sung’s The Phoenix Rising:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts The Concordia Orchestra in Bao Yuankai’s Scenery of Wuxi (from Chinese Sights and Sounds):
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts the Fox Valley Symphony in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Mov. 4:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts Sinfonietta Memphis in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin conducts The Concordia Orchestra in Jim Pugh’s Trombone Concerto, featuring Dr. Nat Dickey as soloist:
Dr. Kevin Sütterlin introduces the interdisciplinary collaboration between the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Renaissance School for the Arts, bringing to life My Name is Aiden by composer and Concordia graduate Adam Hochstatter: