Charles Latshaw is the director of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival and the Kent State University Orchestra. He previously served as artistic director and conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana. Latshaw has also held conducting positions with the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Washington Sinfonietta, and Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra. He was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as the Herbert von Karajan conducting fellow in 2007. He holds a master’s and doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Latshaw is firmly dedicated to bringing orchestral music to new audiences, especially young people. He has taught band, choir, general music, and musical theater to students of all ages. He has served as faculty for summer music programs, including the Rocky Ridge Music Center, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Strings Camp, and Palace Theatre summer programs. He has led “Side by Side” concerts for high school students with the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. An enthusiastic advocate of new music, Latshaw enjoys programming accessible and exciting contemporary works, often of his own commission. He has premiered more than thirty new works for ensembles ranging from chamber groups to youth orchestras to full symphonies.
Latshaw’s performances are not limited to the podium. He has held the position of principal trumpet in orchestras in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. He has performed with jazz bands as a trumpet player, vocalist, and band leader. He has appeared in acting and singing roles with the Palace Professional Theater of Manchester and the New Hampshire State Opera. Performance tours have brought him to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as across the United States.
When he isn’t conducting or studying scores, Latshaw is an avid culinary experimenter, as both a cheese maker and a bread baker. Along with his wife, Kelley, and their dog, he enjoys spending time in the woods, camping, hiking, and skiing.
“I couldn’t possibly be happier about coming to Flagstaff,” Latshaw said. “When I was here for my audition week in October, every rehearsal, every meeting, every experience felt like the orchestra and I fit together perfectly. The FSO is a shining jewel in Northern Arizona, and I am so happy to be invited to be a part of its great legacy.” His first performance with the orchestra will be on September 29.