Class of 1999
Majors: History and Political Science
It was a conversation with Dr. Buzz Jones that set Brian Ritter solidly on his career path. Intrigued by the suggestion that he explore orchestra management, he pursued this option immediately after graduation from Gettysburg. He secured a job managing the New England Philharmonic, a small orchestra in Boston ... and was instantly hooked.
Brian came to Gettysburg College knowing that he wanted to study history, particularly the Civil War and other epochs of American history. But he had also chosen Gettysburg because of its strong music program, through which he could participate in various ensembles.
Gettysburg College Highlights
Brian credits his time spent as drum major for the Bullet Marching Band as pivotal training for managing orchestras. He found the leadership opportunities to be generous, giving him a hands-on chance to learn and grow as he brought many different people together to create and execute the varying details of half-time shows and other performances.
This, in turn, inspired him to spend time learning about the classical repertoire through listening, studying music scores, classes, and conversations with professors. Other fond memories include:
- Music ensembles such as the concert band and wind ensemble
- Singing in the Chapel Choir
- The Common Hour Committee
- His classical music radio show on WZBT
- Mountain biking around the battlefields on the weekends.
Life After Gettysburg
After two years in Boston, Brian had a chance to serve his hometown orchestra in Allentown, PA as development director. After that, he worked at the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Rockford, IL as executive director.
Today, as the chief executive of the Albany Symphony, he is responsible for providing vision and leadership for the business and artistic functions of the institution including marketing, fundraising, finance, artistic planning and production, and governance. He oversees ten full-time staff members, and his team is persistently striving to build a robust organization that best serves the Capital Region of NY in deep, meaningful, and powerful ways through music.
"Though I did not study music as a major, I took courses in music every chance I could. I had numerous classes in music history, conducting, and music theory. At Gettysburg College, I was able to be fully immersed in my two passions: music and history."
- Brian Ritter '99