B I O G R A P H Y
Director of Orchestras and Assistant Professor of Music at Coe College, Michelle Perrin Blair was honored to be selected as one of twelve conducting fellows for the 2018 International Women's Conducting Workshop in New York City. Blair's other recent honors include the Beahl and Irene H. Perrine Faculty Fellowship (2016), the PEO Scholar Award (2014), the Richard and Nancy Schissler Fellowship in Orchestral Conducting (2013), and the Bernard Osher Scholarship (Monteux School 2012). Blair currently serves as Founder and Artistic Director of PREMIER Chamber Orchestra, Conductor-in-Residence of Revival Theatre Company (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), and Conductor of the Durward Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble (Coralville, Iowa). Blair holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Houston, where she studied orchestral conducting with Maestro Franz Anton Krager and served as Assistant Director of the AURA Contemporary Ensemble for three years. Blair earned her Master of Music degree in conducting from the University of Texas at Arlington under the tutelage of her lifelong mentor, Dr. Clifton Evans.
Blair is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, and she is well known for her work with educational ensembles. Previously Conductor of both the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Houston Youth Symphony Sinfonia, Blair continues to serve as a regular clinician at both the middle school and high school levels for the Jefferson Orchestra Invitational, the Metropolitan Orchestra Festival, the Corridor Honors Orchestra, the Kennedy Honors Orchestra, and Corridor-area high school ensembles. When Blair found herself in schools without orchestras, she built her own programs from scratch, leading her to found and direct the St. Louis String Program (St. Louis Catholic School, Austin, TX) and the String Academy (Arlington Classics Academy, Arlington, TX). In the Spring of 2019, Blair founded and launched the Corridor's new youth orchestra program, PREMIER Chamber Orchestra.
Off the podium, Blair is an active violinist, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Southwestern University. In November of 2014, Blair was invited to play in the Leipzig Academic Orchestra's 60th Anniversary Concert, for which the orchestra performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite in the Gewandhaus. Blair studied violin under Andrzej Grabiec, Martha Walvoord, Eri Lee Lam, and Rodica Gonzalez. Blair has maintained a private violin studio for over a decade and is passionate about coaching chamber music and teaching string technique. When she is not playing, teaching, or conducting, Blair enjoys reading, arts-and-crafting, and going to concerts. Blair lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with her husband, Aaron, and daughter, Johanna.