Biography & News

Donald Spieth has built a multifaceted career as an outstanding conductor, orchestra builder, and educator. His imaginative programming and expressive performances have been met enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike. The New York Times said “The Orchestra, led by Donald Spieth, played energetically, precisely and often sweetly.” Spieth came to Pennsylvania as a National Teaching Fellow at Moravian College where he is currently (2007 to present) Artist-in-Residence in music and is back as Conductor and Director of the Moravian College Community Orchestra (MCCO), an ensemble which he started in 1967 when first joining the Moravian College faculty. Spieth retired in 1984 as tenured faculty to take a twenty-three year leave to pursue other conducting responsibilities.

Spieth has led highly acclaimed New York performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and has collaborated with celebrated artists from Emanuel Ax and Joshua Bell to Sarah Chang, Pamela Frank, and Lang Lang among many others. He served as Music Director and Conductor (1981-2007) of the (LVCO) Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra (PA) for 26 seasons. He served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Monocacy Chamber Orchestra (MCO) at Lehigh University and continues currently as Guest Conductor at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. Since 1984, Spieth has also been Adjunct Professor and Music Department Coordinator at Northampton Community College.

Maestro Spieth received the prestigious national American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) award for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music. In addition to his 2007 MCO recording featuring Paul Salerni’s “Dances and Fables” with text by Dana Gioia, he has made three internationally distributed recordings with LVCO on the Koch Records and the Albany Records labels. As an advocate for American music, Spieth, with various orchestras, has premiered over fifty new orchestral works through the annual commissioning of local, national, and international composers.

A proponent of second and third performances, Spieth took a
new work, Cold, Silent Snow, by eminent American composer Libby Larsen, commissioned and premiered by Spieth and the LVCO in Allentown (PA), performed the piece again at West Chester University, PA, and performed it a third time as guest conductor with the Columbus PRO MUSICA Chamber Orchestra in Ohio.

During the 2016-17 season, the MCCO under Spieth began a “Guest Soloist Series” featuring David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. In the 2017-18 season, the MCCO featured celebrated violinist Pamela Frank and prominent cellist Peter Wiley playing the Brahms Double Concerto with Spieth conducting. The 2018-19 season featured piano soloist Blair McMillen playing Gershwin’s Concerto in F. 2019-20 will see the return of David
Kim to perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

At Central Moravian Church, along with Rebecca Lepore, Minister of Music, Choir Director and Organist, Spieth has conducted choral and orchestra performances of Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Vivaldi’s Gloria and other works along with annual Christmas and Easter celebrations. In October 2019, a performance of Dan Forrest’s Requiem For The Living and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy will feature the Central Choir, orchestra, vocal soloists, and Rebecca Lepore as piano soloist.

Donald Spieth began his formal training at the University of Iowa where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music performance and literature. An accomplished performer on trumpet, Spieth has been a member of various orchestras and ensembles in the United States and of various performance tours throughout Europe. His primary conducting teachers have included James Dixon at Iowa and Sixten Ehrling at The Juilliard School.

Maestro Spieth has two sons; Stow resides in Philadelphia; Shawn with wife Christine reside in Dallas, TX; three grandchildren, Jordan with wife Annie, Steven, and Ellen also live in Dallas. Additionally, he has two step children: Alexis Boylan and her partner Micki McElya who live in Cambridge, MA., and Gabriel Boylan and his wife Christine and their son Lonnie who live in Brooklyn, NY. He is married to Llyena Boylan Spieth, an arts administrator and consultant, and lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.