Named by Forum Magazine as one of the top ten faces to watch, Kermit Poling is celebrating his 20th season as Music Director of the South Arkansas Symphony, 25th season as Music Director of the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet and 29th season as Associate Conductor of the Shreveport Symphony. He is also a virtuoso violinist, a Centaur recording artist, and performed as SSO Concertmaster for 27 years.
As a conductor, Maestro Poling performs extensively throughout the United States and around the world. He has been featured with orchestras in Europe, Mexico and China as well as frequently conducting closer to home. He has led the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Moscow Ballet (during their American tour), the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Macon Symphony, Opera! Lenawee, the Marshall Symphony and many others.
Also a composer, Poling’s most recent ballets include Peter Pan, premiered by the University of Hartford in 2014 and Beauty and the Beast, premiered by the Oklahoma City Ballet in 2014. His work, No Sound of Trumpet nor Roll of Drum premiered in 2011 and was featured in SYMPHONY Magazine. His scores to the silent film Tarzan and for the documentary Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle won accolades across the country. Past compositions include the ballets Snow White, Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, and Phantom of the Opera and several recent compositions commissioned by the Shreveport Summer Music Festival including Within the Orb of Glories Wearing and Visions of the Virgin.
Poling received the Outstanding Artist in Music Fellowship in 2000 from the State of Louisiana and twice received a Music Fellowship from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. His awards include scholarships to the Boston Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa. In 2005, Maestro Poling served as one of three international judges for China’s National Young Artists Competition with the China National Symphony in Beijing. In 2012, he was awarded a career advancement award from the State of Louisiana. May 13, 2006 was declared Kermit Poling Day by then Mayor Keith Hightower and the City of Shreveport.
Kermit Poling has been a featured conductor on NPR’s Performance Today, the Arkansas Educational Television Network, the Red River Radio Network, WGBH Boston and has appeared as violinist on Louisiana Public Television and PBS in addition to numerous television and radio stations throughout the country. He’s been featured in SYMPHONY Magazine, Louisiana Life and others. He has a long history of recording and productions ranging from motion picture scores to commercials. He has recorded for Coca-Cola, Mitsubishi, Sony and many other commercial clients as well as such artists as Kenny Rogers. He has taught on the faculty of Centenary College, Texarkana Community College and the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and served as artist in residence and led master classes at the University of Delaware, Kilgore College, Stephen F. Austin State University and others. In 2011 Centaur Records released a CD of his newest Christmas arrangements performed by the West Edge String Quartet. He was also featured as an expert on the reality TV show Baggage Battles in 2013 on the A&E network.
He has produced the Shreveport Symphony’s broadcast series since 1987, previously producing radio programming for WBUR Boston and other public radio stations. A non-stop musician, he also serves as the choirmaster and organist at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Bossier City. When not on stage, he serves as General Manager of the Red River Radio public radio network at LSUS.