School of Music

USM Youth Ensembles: Meet the Conductors


Deborah Dabczynski, Portland Young People's String Consort
Robert Lehmann, Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra
Ferdinand Liva, Portland Youth Junior Orchestra
Peter Martin, Director of Bands
John Morneau, Portland Youth Wind Ensemble


Rebecca DeWan, Southern Maine Youth Chorale
Nicolás Alberto Dosman, Southern Maine Children's Choir


Rebecca DeWan
Southern Maine Youth Chorale

Rebecca DeWan is the choral director at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine, where she has four choirs and is the music director for the fall musical.  She is also the choir director at First Parish Congregational Church in Yarmouth, Maine.  She previously taught grade 5-12 vocal music in Houlton, Maine where she taught general music, directed school choirs, directed and produced the annual musical, and directed two show choirs. During her tenure in Houlton, she also developed a new junior high musical program. Ms. DeWan graduated from the University of Southern Maine School of Music where she earned a B.M. in Music Education. During her undergraduate studies, she studied conducting with Dr. Robert Russell, conducting both the University Chorale and the USM Chamber Singers. She has conducted honors festivals in Maine and New Hampshire.  She served as the treasurer for the Northern Maine Music Educators Association, and currently volunteers with the Maine Music Educators Association.

Deborah Dabczynski
Portland Young People’s String Consort

Deborah Dabczynski, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, has been a member of the Portland Symphony cello section since the fall of 1974. She also plays with various other performing groups including Portland Opera, Portland Ballet orchestra and the White Mountain Musical Arts Bach Festival. She has often conducted orchestras for the Maine ASTA State String Festival and District Orchestra Festivals. She has held teaching positions in SAD #17 and Old Orchard Beach where she was involved in the string instrument programs. She is a former host and program developer for the Portland Symphony Kinderkonzerts, a position she held for ten years. Debby has a full schedule of private students whom she teaches in her home studio in Harrison. As a contrast to her involvement in music and music education, she also works part time cutting exclusive wooden jigsaw puzzles at Elms Puzzles, also in Harrison.


Nicolás Alberto Dosman
Southern Maine Children’s Choir

Dr. Nicolás Alberto Dosman is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, Choral Conducting at the University of Southern Maine (USM), School of Music. Prior to his arrival at USM, he was the Director of Choral Activities at Colby College and an Applied Music Associate (voice) where he conducted the Colby Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Colby-Kennebec Choral Society. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Molloy College. Under his leadership the Colby College Chamber Choir performed at Carnegie Hall where the Colby Chamber Choir’s performance was described as “an inspired performance, with an enthusiastic audience.” In 2013 he was one of three American choral conductors that was invited to and attended theMusica e Arte Sacra conductor’s invitational in Rome, Italy. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Dr. Dosman is the Maine ACDA youth and student activities chair. Before his arrival to the great state of Maine, he was a conducting fellow with the Continuo Arts Foundation (Westfield, NJ) and was also the director of Casita Sings Children’s Chorus (Bronx, NY). He founded the Miami Choral Festival in 2008 and was also the chairman of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County region of the Florida Vocal Association. He studied choral conducting with Dr. Dino Anagnost at Columbia University and Drs. André Thomas and Kevin Fenton at Florida State University (FSU). Prior to his graduate studies at FSU, he attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he received his B.M. in music education with a vocal emphasis. Dr. Dosman’s research interests include: male-participation in choral ensembles, music teacher preparation, urban school districts and music education, and social justice in urban schools.


Robert Lehmann
Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra

Robert Lehmann is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Strings and Orchestral Activities at the USM School of Music. In addition to his duties at USM, he is Music Director of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra and the White Mountain Bach Festival in New Hampshire and conductor of the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. He holds degrees in Violin Performance from the University of the Pacific, the Eastman School and Boston University and has been a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Festival and at the Conductors Institute at Bard College. Dr. Lehmann has concertized as violinist and conductor, in his native Mexico, throughout the US, Puerto Rico and in Europe and Ukraine. He has been a frequent guest conductor with the Portland Symphony and has conducted All State and Festival Orchestras from Maine to California and Hawaii. Prior to his appointment at USM, he was Music Director of the Mozart Society Orchestra at Harvard, and on the conducting staff of the Greater Boston and the Empire State Youth Orchestras. He is first violinist of the Meliora Quartet and concertmaster of the PORTOpera and Choral Art Society. He is in demand as a performer, conductor, teacher and adjudicator and is listed in Who’s Who in American Music. His new CD, Chamber Music for String by Manuel M. Ponce has just been issued by Centaur Records. He recently conducted the world premiere of Portland Ballet’s newly commissioned The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Dr. Lehmann resides in Scarborough with his wife Kim, a violist with the PSO, and his two sons, Eric and Alex.

Ferdinand Liva
Portland Youth Junior Orchestra

Ferdinand Liva, violinist and conductor, comes from a musically prominent family in northeastern Pennsylvania. He began studying the violin at age seven with his father, a noted conductor and teacher, and continued his education at the Peabody Conservatory, earning a Bachelor of Music degree under Berl Senofsky. He then studied at Temple University in Philadelphia with Luis Biava, where he graduated with a Master’s degree, as well as a Professional Studies Certificate. In 1991, he became one of the founding members of the DaPonte String Quartet which works and performs in Maine.  They have performed on many of the great chamber music series, including Rockefeller University, Music Mountain, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, and Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim.  Mr. Liva spent four years as Assistant Professor of violin and chamber music at Wilkes University, and conductor of the University Orchestra. He currently teaches a private studio of students, conducts the Sea Coast Youth Orchestra and the Sea Coast Community Orchestra, has conducted the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and University Orchestra, and teaches violin and chamber music as an adjunct faculty member at the University.


Peter Martin
Director of Bands

Peter Martin is in his 36th year as Director of Bands at the University of Southern Maine, his 35th year of conducting at the Southern Maine Music Academy, his 28th year as conductor of the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, and his 19th year of conducting the Casco Bay Wind Symphony. A native of Bensenville, Illinois, he holds a Ph.D. degree in music education from Northwestern University. His principal teachers include Charles Baker, John Boyd, John Paynter, Bennett Reimer and Alan Stout.

Dr. Martin maintains an active conducting schedule and has conducted performances in England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In London he has appeared at the Barbican Centre and St. Paul’s Cathedral; in Venice at St. Marks Square; in Innsbruch at the Olympic site; at the Piazza Riforma in Lugano, Switzerland; and roadside at the Tour de France. In the U.S. he has conducted from coast-to-coast and in over 30 states. Dr. Martin is the wind band consultant for the Jupiter (FL) High School.  He is a resident of Hollis Center, Maine and Jupiter, Florida. 

Peter Martin is a published author in the United States and in England, has edited and arranged compositions for wind band, and appears in Who's Who in America  and the International Who's Who in Music. He has been cited for excellence as a distinguished educator and was selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among America's Teachers and is the recipient of a University of Southern Maine Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award. Dr. Martin is an awarded member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.



John P. Morneau
Portland Youth Wind Ensemble

John P. Morneau is a native of Berlin, New Hampshire and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire.  He has taught music in Wisconsin and New Hampshire, and for the past thirty-seven years, here in Maine. Mr. Morneau has served as Director of the Bowdoin College Concert Band since 1988 and also serves as the Director of Bands at the Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta.

For thirteen years Mr. Morneau served as associate, then principal conductor of the Casco Bay Concert Band.  He has also served as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, speaker and presenter at various music festivals, band camps and conferences.  He currently serves as the conductor for both Band Day Camp and Junior Music Academy Concert Bands at the University of Southern Maine.

Mr. Morneau has been involved in the commissioning and premiere performance opportunities of over two-dozen new compositions for wind band. These works have been created by Bowdoin student, faculty and alumni composers, as well as other Maine and nationally recognized composers.

Mr. Morneau has also served on executive boards for the Maine Music Educators Association, The New England College Band Directors Association, and the First Parish Church (Brunswick) Music Committee.  In 2005, Mr. Morneau was recognized as the Maine District III Music Educator of the Year.  He is also listed in the Who’s Who of America’s Teachers.

Mr. Morneau is active as a free-lance woodwind performer having performed with, among others: The Temptations; Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus Band; Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians; Liberace; Steve Lippia; the Bangor Symphony Orchestra; jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie; Clark Terry; Dick Johnson, Wayne Bergeron and Eric Marienthal; as well as having served as a regular member of various bands, most notably, the Don Doane Big Band. He currently performs with the Al Corey Big Band, the Opus One Big Band, the Chris Humphrey Big Band, and the Volunteers Band, all here in Maine.


2015 Conductor Emeritus, Peter Martin

Return to the USM Youth Ensembles main page.

Storm Closing


All campuses of the University of Southern Maine are closing today, February 5, at 2 p.m. This evening's Prospero Quartet concert is postponed to Saturday night. 


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