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Dr. Dale Kempter (1930-2018) was involved for fifty years with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program. At the end of the 2001-2002 season, he resigned as conductor of the Youth Symphony, a position he held for 37 years. Under Dr. Kempter's leadership, the Youth Symphony performed in Mexico, Canada, England, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Spain, twelve states in the U.S., and twenty-six New Mexico communities.
The Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program, which now includes approximately 500 students in 8 ensembles, has earned the acclaim of music educators across the United States. Dr. Kempter is remembered as one of the Southwest's most outstanding music educators and conductors. Dr. Kempter was an educator in New Mexico for more than 50 years, with a one-year leave of absence to conduct orchestras at the University of Akron, Ohio. He retired as Supervisor of Fine Arts and Instruction Coordinator for Albuquerque Public Schools. He taught music at the elementary and secondary levels and held university teaching positions at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) and the University of New Mexico (UNM). He was honored in 1989 as "Music Educator of the Year" by the NM Music Educators Association and also won the 1991 American String Teachers National School Education Award.
Professionally, Dr. Kempter performed as a cellist for the New Mexico Symphony, New Mexico Chamber Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony, Roswell Symphony, and the Albuquerque Chamber Music Association. He also served as Conductor of the Albuquerque Philharmonic and guest conductor of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the University of New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. He received Bachelors of Music Education and Cello degrees from Kansas University, and a Master of Music Education degree and Educational Administrators Certificate from UNM. Dr. Kempter served as adjudicator and clinician for music festivals throughout the country, conducted several All-State Orchestras, and presented at several national and state music conferences. Dr. Kempter was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico on May 11, 2013.