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Mission & Goals

The Taneycomo Festival Orchestra is unique amongst American music festivals because our educational mission is to teach autonomy and best professional practices to our musicians. Our administrative staff members are therefore the teachers, and more experienced musicians in the orchestra serve as mentors for younger participants.

Program Description

Throughout the two-week Festival, the TFO offers a series of professional development opportunities to participants in order to instill this sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Led by members of the administrative teaching staff and seasoned orchestra members, participants will leave TFO with a better understanding of professionalism in the music industry, entrepreneurship, career building, and entering the job market in addition to the musical and networking opportunities provided by playing in the orchestra and chamber ensembles. 

Professional Development Events

The Creation of the TFO: A Deep Dive into Bringing Your Dream to Life Executive-Artistic Director Dr. Larkin Sanders leads a 4-part seminar on the creation of the TFO and how it applies to your goals. Primary topics include the Nonprofit & 501(c)(3) Process, Marketing, Fundraising, and Community Engagement. Bring your big ideas and leave with a plan! 

Applying for Jobs:
Resumes &Cover Letters

Grab your favorite device and join Conductor Joe Peters, General Manager Dr. Neal Postma, and Executive-Artistic Director Dr. Larkin Sanders for lunch to create the best professional materials. They will discuss the best practices for creating a cover letter and resume and host roundtable critiques of participants’ materials.

Mock Auditions

Conductor/oboist Joe Peters, bassist Adam Bernstein, and librarian/violist Peter Dutilly will serve on a panel for 2 mock orchestral auditions for Festival participants. Participants will perform in an authentic audition environment and receive feedback from panelists. 

Presenter Biographies


Larkin Sanders

Dr. Larkin Sanders is a native of Branson, Missouri and currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri where she is the clarinet instructor at Washburn University, owns the Clever Clarinetist (a clarinet specialty store), performs with Xiphias Trio and other various ensembles, and is the Vice President of the American Single Reed Summit. Most notably, Larkin is the founder, executive artistic director, and is a clarinetist of the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra, a summer music festival in Branson, Missouri. Dr. Sanders is also a Woodwind Method Clinician for D'Addario Woodwinds and is endorsed as an Artist by Henri Selmer Paris, Silverstein Works, and Brian Corbin Clarinet Products.


In addition to her activities as a clarinetist, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Sanders is also a composer and author who has a fondness for songs and unique chamber ensembles.  Larkin has had her works performed in a variety of settings. Her works are inspired by the talents of her friends and colleagues, and the genres of her works span from chamber operettas, art songs, children's music, and more. She is also the author of The Creation of the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra: The Performer’s Field Guide to Music Festival Foundation and The Clever Clarinetist’s Daily Scale Method: Scales and Exercises for Everyday Use, used by The Florida State University and other studios as their official fundamental method.


Dr. Sanders completed her Doctor of Music degree in clarinet performance and a certificate in arts administration at Florida State University in 2015.  At FSU, she studied clarinet with Dr. Frank Kowalsky and Dr. Deborah Bish while teaching a course in clarinet fundamentals for first-year undergraduate students.  Larkin also holds a master of music degree from Michigan State University where she studied clarinet with Dr. Justin O’Dell and composition with Dr. Ricardo Lorenz.  Previously, she earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Kansas while studying clarinet with Dr. Stephanie Zelnick and Dr. Larry Maxey.

In addition to her exciting musical activities, Dr. Sanders is an aquatic enthusiast who enjoys sailing and scuba diving, and she is an avid craftswoman who enjoys sewing, furniture rehab, and other creative adventures. In her free time, she enjoys creating things, going on adventures, reading, and spending time with her family & friends, her Norwegian forest cat, Miles, and her dogs, Miko and Dopey.

Joe Peters

Minnesota native Joseph Peters, Associate Principal Oboe and English horn with the North Carolina Symphony, previously held Principal Oboe chairs with the Minnesota Orchestra and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed as guest principal with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and he has also played with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Marlboro Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Lakes Area Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and the National Orchestral Institute. For three years he was a member of the New World Symphony in Florida.


Peters first appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra at age 18 as a finalist in the Minnesota Idol competition, performing Mozart’s Oboe Concerto. As a soloist, he has also appeared with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Civic Symphony, Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, of which he is an alumnus.


As a conductor, Peters leads the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri and is the Interim Conductor of the Triangle Youth Symphony. He was the Music Director of the SUNY Buffalo State Philharmonia Orchestra and the Saybrook College Orchestra of Yale. He has conducted Holiday Pops concerts at the North Carolina Symphony and is a frequent guest at the New World Symphony, where he has led diverse programs including children's concerts, chamber opera and a collaboration with the Miami City Ballet. He recently conducted a performance of Henze’s Kammermusik 1958 at Marlboro Music Festival. His conducting mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, James Patrick Miller, and Toshiyuki Shimada.


Peters has been on the oboe or conducting faculty of institutions including the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, SUNY Buffalo State, SoBe Institute of the Arts, and has conducted side-by-side concerts for New World Symphony’s MusicLab program. An advocate of contemporary music, he premiered Aaron Jay Kernis’ On Distant Shores with New York’s RIOULT Dance Company, and he has been involved in numerous other premieres by composers including Jocelyn Hagen and Samuel Carl Adams.


Peters received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music from Yale University. His teachers include Stephen Taylor, John Snow, Julie Madura, and Marilyn Zupnik.

Neal Postma

Dr. Neal Postma is a saxophonist based in South Carolina where he enjoys a multi-faceted music career. In addition to being an active performer and pedagogue, he works in both arts administration as the president of a national single reed conference and in the music business with D'Addario Woodwinds.


Neal is a founding member and president of the American Single Reed Summit which had its inaugural event in 2018 at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. In addition to featuring internationally-renowned artists, the summit included over 120 recitals, masterclasses, and lectures. The next summit will be held at the University of South Carolina in October 2020.


As an educator, Neal currently serves on the faculties of Winthrop University and Claflin University where he teaches saxophone, clarinet, and music appreciation and directs chamber ensembles and the jazz ensemble. He previously held the position of MYP Director of Western Music at the Guangdong Country Garden International School (an IB accredited institution) near Guangzhou, China. Sought after as a clinician, Neal has given masterclasses and recitals at such institutions as the Cincinnati Conservatory, The University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, The South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts, and Denver School of the Arts.


As a soloist, Neal has been performed at conferences and festivals around the world. He has been the featured artist at the Blue Ridge Saxophone Festival, Palm Beach Atlantic University Front Wave New Music Festival, Franklin College Saxophone Day, and others. Active in the saxophone community, he has also given performances at World Saxophone Congresses in Zagreb and Strasbourg, The North American Saxophone Alliance National and Regional Conferences, The US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music Conference.


An avid proponent of new music, Neal has commissioned and premiered over a dozen solo and chamber works by composers such as Carter Pann, Adam Silverman, Marc Mellits, Anthony Green, Brendan Keenan, Matthew Browne, Greg Simon, and Hunter Ewen. Neal has personally led consortiums commissioning two concertos from Matt Browne, a work for two saxophones and piano from Grammy-nominated composer Carter Pann, and a piece for alto saxophone and electronics by Anthony Green. Recently he was a featured artist at the Front Wave New Music Festival in West Palm Beach, Florida working with composer John Fitz Rogers. In 2018 he premiered a work for two saxophones and piano by Adam Silverman at the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia. Neal Postma and Clifford Leaman recently recorded the work and it can be heard on Adam Silverman’s CD The Things That Go.


In addition to representing D’Addario Woodwinds as an endorsing artist, he serves in their Woodwind Method Program. This program provides pedagogy and promotes products at universities, public schools, lessons studios and retailers, and conferences across the US. In this capacity, he has given over 100 clinics at leading institutions in both the Southeast US and California and supervises a team of clinicians from around the country. Neal is also a content contributor to the D'Addario Education Collective providing articles, discussion topics, videos, and graphics.


In the summers, Neal serves as the Orchestra Manager for the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri. This two-week festival attracts professionals and graduate students from around the country for nearly a dozen chamber and orchestra concerts. 


Neal holds degrees from the University of South Carolina (DMA), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM) and the University of Colorado (BM). His primary teachers are Clifford Leaman, James Bunte, and Tom Myer.


Peter Dutilly


Adam Bernstein

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