School of Music

USM Youth Ensembles: Meet the Conductors


Peter Martin, Portland Youth Wind Ensemble
Norman Huynh, Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, 2014 Spring
Robert Lehmann, Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra
Ferdinand Liva, Portland Youth Junior Orchestra
Deborah Dabczynski, Portland Young People's String Consort


Rebecca DeWan, Southern Maine Youth Chorale
Paul McGovern, 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.


Norman Huynh
Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, 2014 Spring

Norman Huynh is the Portland Symphony’s newly appointed Assistant Conductor and Community Liaison, a position that the PSO introduced in 2013. He is responsible for conducting a wide variety of concerts including the Discovery Family Series, Pops Series, and run-out concerts to multiple communities throughout the state of Maine. He also covers all subscription concerts for Music Director Robert Moody and guest conductors.

Prior to moving to Maine, Norman was a cover conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, working closely with Marin Alsop and guest conductors Juanjo Mena, Christoph König and Vasily Petrenko.

Norman is a Co-founder of the Occasional Symphony, an organization that spreads orchestral music throughout the community by performing in distinctive venues across Baltimore.  Occasional Symphony performs on holidays by presenting innovative programs that resonate with the venue.

In 2010 and 2011, Norman won the International Conducting Workshop and Competition held in Macon, Ga. Orchestras that Norman has conducted include the Baltimore Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Macon Symphony and Peabody Symphony Orchestra. He has served as an assistant conductor for Opera Carolina, the Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Peabody Opera Theatre, Peabody Singers, and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.

Norman received his Master’s Degree in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, Edward Polochick, and Marin Alsop.  Other conducting teachers include John Ratledge and Adrian Gnam. Norman earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Alabama.

Peter Martin
Portland Youth Wind Ensemble

Peter Martin is a professor of music at the University of Southern Maine and conductor of the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and the Casco Bay Concert Band. 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 at 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 in over 30 states including California, Vermont, Texas, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Indiana, Minnesota, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., as well as throughout his favorite state of Maine. He 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. He is an awarded member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

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.

Paul McGovern
Southern Maine Children’s Choir

Paul McGovern has over 25 years experience teaching music from kindergarten to college. Currently, he teaches music for the Portland's Public Schools where he directs the choir and teaches classroom music at Ocean Avenue Elementary School. Previously, he has taught music courses and directed choirs at Saint Joseph's College, SUNY-Potsdam's Crane School of Music, and Georgia Southern University. Dr. McGovern received his Bachelor's degree from Queens College/CUNY and his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Choral Conducting from Indiana University. Before graduate school, he taught music in public schools in the greater Philadelphia, PA area. Throughout his career, he has conducted and sung in choral ensembles of all types and sizes. For the past four summers, he has prepared the chorus for the White Mountain Musical Arts Summer Bach Festival conducted by Robert Lehmann. Previously, he has served as Conductor of the Granite State Choral Society, based in Rochester, NH, and the University of Maine-Farmington Community Chorus. He has also served as Chorus Master for several PORTopera productions. Currently he sings in the St. Mary Schola, an early music ensemble based in Falmouth directed by Bruce Fithian.

Return to the USM Youth Ensembles main page.