Assistant Professor
Director of Orchestras

Foster Beyers is the newly appointed Director of Orchestras and Assistant Professor of Orchestral Conducting at James Madison University where he will conduct the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras as well as leading performances of the opera each fall. His duties also include courses in orchestral literature and mentoring of students in the Masters and Doctoral program in Orchestral Conducting. Beyers came to Virginia from Minnesota where he was Director of Orchestras at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. While at Concordia Mr. Beyers led the Concordia Orchestra in challenging repertoire not typically undertaken by undergraduate ensembles such as Stravinsky’s Petrushka and the Violin Concerto of Alban Berg. Under his leadership the Concordia Orchestra performed in six states during their annual regional tours. They also embarked on an historic international tour to the Holy Land in 2014 where they played concerts in Jerusalem, I’billin, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Prior to Concordia, Foster Beyers served as interim director of orchestra at the College of St. Benedict/St. John University near St. Cloud, MN for the 2010/2011 academic year. From 2008-2011 he was a James Sample Fellow in conducting at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where he led the Campus Orchestra and String Orchestra while studying with former Richmond Symphony Music Director Mark Russell Smith. Mr. Beyers holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University where his principal teacher was Victor Yampolsky. Additional conducting studies have been with Osmo Vanska, Henry Charles Smith, Kenneth Kiesler, Robert Hasty, Mallory Thompson and Nobuyoshi Yasuda.

Beyers is a committed advocate for and partner to music educators at every level. He began his career in the public schools of Green Bay, Wisconsin where he served as Music Director of the Green Bay Symphony Youth Orchestras while also teaching orchestra and band in the Green Bay Public schools for five years.
 As an educator he has conducted the Merit School of Music Symphony Orchestra, Music Institute of Chicago Junior Academy Orchestra and the 2010 Minnesota Middle Level Honors Orchestra as well as numerous regional honors orchestras throughout the Midwest. Mr. Beyers will conduct the Alabama All-State Sinfonia Orchestra in February of 2017.

Mr. Beyers has led orchestras including the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Northshore Chamber Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony, Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra and the Jugendorchester Stuttgart. He has served as Music Director for the Ravenswood Community Orchestra in Chicago, the Buffalo Community Orchestra in Buffalo, Minnesota as well as the Seward Concert Band in Minneapolis. Beyers lives in Staunton, VA with his wife, conductor and oboist Yi-Ping Chen and their daughter Amelia.

Ensemble Directors

Stephen Bolstad

Stephen P. Bolstad
Professor, Director of Bands
Ensemble Area Coordinator
bolstasp@jmu.edu
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Scott Rikkers

Scott Rikkers
Director of the Marching Royal Dukes, Assistant Director of Bands
rikkersd@jmu.edu
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Amy Birdsong

Amy Birdsong
Assistant Director of Bands, Director of Pep Band
birdsoae@jmu.edu
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Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy
Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities
vanderjx@jmu.edu
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Bryce Hayes

W. Bryce Hayes
Associate Professor, Associate Director of Choral Activities
hayeswb@jmu.edu
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Chuck Dotas

Chuck Dotas
Professor, Director of Jazz Studies
dotascj@jmu.edu
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David Stringham

David Stringham
Associate Professor, Music and Human Services Minor Coordinator
stringda@jmu.edu
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Foster Beyers

Foster Beyers
Assistant Professor
Director of Orchestras
beyersfj@jmu.edu
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Don Rierson

Don Rierson
Associate Professor, Director of Opera and Music Theatre
riersodg@jmu.edu
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