Meet the

Southwest Symphony Orchestra

David Crane

Music Director

David Crane has been Music Director of the Southwest Symphony Orchestra in Palos Heights since 1992. His conducting career began as Music Director of the NIH Chamber Orchestra, Bethesda, MD. He was subsequently appointed Director of the New Music Ensemble at the University of Houston where he collaborated with the opera department in a production of Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, programmed other early 20th century masterworks, and premiered faculty compositions. Upon receiving his Master’s Degree in Conducting from Northwestern University, he conducted the Northwestern University Summer Orchestra for four seasons.

In 2011 Crane founded the Chroma Chamber Orchestra, in residence at the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston. Comprised of many CSO and Lyric Opera Orchestra members, CCO’s emphasis is the wealth of late romantic and early 20th century literature for chamber orchestra. Its concerts had the heading “Music, Art, Dance, Literature – A Multifaceted Concert Experience.” Reviewed by John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune, he wrote“…a cohesive and finely-disciplined group despite being just out of the starting gate…”

An advocate of using symphonic music as a vehicle for social justice, David Crane founded and was Music Director of the Metropolitan Arts Orchestra from 1994-1999, producing, procuring funding, and conducting benefit concerts for the Evanston Ecumenical Action Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Tri-Village and Northwest Suburban PADS. Guest conducting engagements include the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Conservatory Wind Ensemble, and on four occasions the Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland. As a free-lance trumpeter in Washington D.C., he substituted and played extra with the National Symphony.

The son of a foreign-service officer, Crane spent much of his youth in Munich, Germany and Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan.

Orchestra Members


  • Remus Badea, Concertmaster
  • Diana Brodick, Asst Concertmaster
  • Corinne Brodick
  • Shari Ebert
  • Emily Graslie
  • Janet Kuester
  • Robert Lucas, Jr.


  • Deborah Schmaltz, Principal
  • Amy Blair
  • Nancy DiNovo
  • Joan Radtke
  • Rosanne Serrano
  • Alice Snyder
  • Lynn White


  • Lindsay Semanik, Principal
  • Camille Copp
  • Beth Darin
  • Steve Pearson
  • Elyssa Peters
  • Jared Peters


  • Brian Gaona, Principal
  • Gary Cox
  • Kendra Culver
  • Tom Culver
  • Ruth Pieper (LOA)
  • Dana Sebek
  • Carol Semmes


  • Thomas Hawley, Principal
  • Fred Kuester
  • Ron Small


  • Jennifer Darwell, Principal
  • Deanna Machay
  • Wendy Miller


  • Tom Hallett, Principal
  • Rachel Harvey


  • Meg Busse, Principal
  • Grace Hansum


  • Kathryn Brtko


  • Mark Lindeblad, Principal
  • Lea Larson


  • Cathy Gort


  • Joe Loeffler, Principal
  • Matthew Jackson
  • Ron Magiera


  • Carie Jancik, Principal
  • Jillian Adams
  • Timothy Kerwin
  • George Kwain
  • Allison Williams


  • Ian Fitzwater, Principal
  • Eugene Decker


  • Dave Peterson


  • Rodney Holmes


  • Ken Kazin, Principal
  • Rich Alifantis
  • Maggie Cavanaugh
  • Maureen McNichols
  • Chrissy Putlak


  • Richard Sladek


  • Janelle Lake

Interested in joining the SSO?

We welcome and encourage all interested musicians (especially string players!) to audition. Auditions are usually scheduled in the fall, on or before the first rehearsal. More information will be posted once available. Feel free to contact the orchestra manager with any questions.