Paul John Stanbery

Paul John Stanbery is currently Music director of the Hamilton Fairfield Symphony, Ohio Mozart Festival, Great Miami Youth Symphony and has been Associate Conductor of the Lima Symphony in Ohio.   Guest appearances have included the Western Piedmont Symphony, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, The University of Cincinnati and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.    He is a regular guest with the  Miami University Symphony Orchestra.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Stanbery studied at Bowling Green State University and
The University of Cincinnati.     His mentors and teachers included conducting studies with Emil Raab,  Ivan Trusler, Robert Porco and John Leman.   He studied composition with Wallace DePue and H. Owen Reed.

He was also the founder and conductor of the Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony, as well as the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra.

2005 Post Corbett AwardIn November of 2005, Mr. Stanbery won the prestigious Post-Corbett Award (Performing Artist Division). Given every other year, the Post-Corbett Award is the equivalent of a Cincinnati-regional Pulitzer Prize, recognizing outstanding achievement in the arts. Mr. Stanbery is the first conductor so honored who was not associated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

His Second Symphony “Foundations” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music for 2012.
It received its premiere in October, 2012 by the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the composer to a wildly enthusiastic audience.    Repeat performances are planned by several orchestras.

Other performances planned include:

“Music for Mass” at St. Peter In Chains Church, Hamilton.
Easter Sunday; 2013

“Elegy and Cortege” from 2nd Symphony.   Memorial Day 2013 Concert
with the Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony Orchestra; Michael Chertok, conducting.

New music and commissions planned include:

“Coplandia”  (Premiere to take place in the Fall of 2013 – Strings of Hamilton and Fairfield High Schools-James Ledbetter and Sherry Randall, Directors)

‘The Temptation of Christ”    (A one-act chamber opera, suitable for the stage or church.   The dramatic encounter in the desert between Satan and Jesus Christ.)

“Concerto for Piano and Orchestra”   for Michael Chertok, CCM faculty and pianist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.   Music Director/Conductor – Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony

“Nunc Dimitis”  for the choir of Trinity Church in Hamilton, Ohio
Mary Alice Mawer, Director – on a request by Connie Baesel

“Music for the Film: Robert McCloskey, The Life For Me”; as well as “Melinda” as commissioned by Paul and Marion Thoms.

Visit Mr. Stanbery’s composition page:

“The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony (and Chorale) is one of the finest regional orchestras in the Cincinnati area, not just for the quality of its performances, but for the creativity of its programming.
Under music director Paul John Stanbery…..The achievement of the performers was inspiring, the content of the program, inspired.   Led by Stanbery, the combined forces of the orchestra and massed choirs made a splendid impression, one that begs for an encore……….In short, it was a concert to shed luster on the Greater Cincinnati community (and beyond), and in highlighting (Michael) Daugherty and his music, to foster appreciation of the finest in American music here and now.”–-Mary Ellyn Hutton—from her review

As associate conductor for the Cincinnati May Festival, he collaborated with such noted conductors as the late Robert Shaw, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, James Conlon, Robert Porco, the late Eric Kunzel, Ivan Fischer, Kenneth Jean and Keith Lockhart for performances in Carnegie Hall, Cincinnati’s Music Hall and the Riverbend Music Center.   Mr. Stanbery served as chorus-master for Telarc recordings of the Cincinnati Pops “The Hunt for Red October”, and the Cincinnati Symphony production of the opera “La Vida Breve” by Manuel DeFalla.

He spent nineteen years as Music Director of All Saints Parish and School in Cincinnati, and has been an educator for over thirty years, including work in several Toledo area schools. In 2002, Mr. Stanbery was appointed Music Minister at Hamilton’s “Historic Presbyterian Church”, and then assumed the same role at St. Peter In Chains Church in Hamilton from 2008 to 2013.

He presently is Minister of Music at Zion Lutheran Church in Hamilton.

The HFSO Chorale was founded by Paul in 1997, and performed in Carnegie Hall with John Rutter on May 30, 2005 in a command performance of the Brahms “Ein Deutches Requiem”.

Mr. Stanbery is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Hamilton’s “Ohio Mozart Festival”.   Now in its seventeenth year, The Ohio Mozart Festival remains the only one of its kind in the Midwest, having presented over 200 separate performances of Mozart.

Hamilton Butler Counties Vision 2020 AwardThe “American Masters” Concerts of the HFSO, initiated by Mr. Stanbery, bring a living distiguished composer to the community for a week, culminating in a concert featuring their works. This series continues to draw national attention from Symphony Magazine, the official publication of the League of American Orchestras.    Chester Lane called the HFSO: “One of America’s high-octane smaller budget orchestras”.   To date, the HFSO has presented numerous World Premiers, and has featured collaborations with several Pulitzer Prize winning composers.

Composers featured read like a “who’s who” in American composition and include H. Owen Reed, Robert Ward, Thomas Benjamin, James Niblock, Charles Lloyd, Ronnie Kole, Wallace Depue, Philip Koplow, Ellen Taafe Zwilich and Michael Daugherty.  
Mr. Stanbery also conducted the North American Premiere of works by noted Dutch composer, Louis Andriessen in the summer of 2003, including “M is for Man, Music and Mozart”.    These concerts took place at the University of Cincinnati with the composer present.

He believes strongly in the importance of reaching young people with classical music and has become well known throughout the state of Ohio for his work in that regard. His work with Hamilton’s Great Miami Youth Symphony has brought high praise, and he helped form an enormously successful new series for children as a cooperative venture between The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and the Lane Public Library System entitled “Mini-Maestros”.

Mr. Stanbery composed original music specifically for several such presentations.    His work with the Lima Symphony also included educational concerts in the schools, as well as the presentation of the “KidStuff”  programs in tandem with the Lima Public Libraries.    Under his watch, the HFSO has established four separate scholarship opportunities for young musicians and singers.

His down-to-Earth style make him popular with musicians and audiences alike. Coupled with continued creative programming and sustained quality work, these traits have brought the rewards of full houses, strong financial symphonic growth and critical acclaim whenever he appears.

Paul lives on a five acre “ranch” just West of Hamilton with his wife, the artist Patricia Jackson Stanbery.

All six of the kids (Aaron, Angela, Adam, Katie, Pete, and Benjamin) have grown up and moved out!

Pat and Paul have nine  grandchildren: (Isaac,  Joshua,  Albert,  Leah,  Merle, Claire, William, Finley, and Henry) who fill their lives with joy!



“Stanbery, music director of The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, is an energetic conductor, sharp in his movements, musically demanding… and he gets a clean, crisp sound from both the musicians and the singers.” —Lane Crockett, The Shreveport Times

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