Ensemble Conductors

Ensemble Conductor Profiles

Kathy Briggs, Adjunct Professor, Bel Canto

briggs.kathryn-headshot-acda.jpgKathryn Briggs has been teaching music for over 20 years and has been conductor of the University of Portland Bel Canto treble ensemble since 2014.  Her specialty is treble choirs and treble choir literature.  Ms. Briggs was awarded the 2016 Oregon ACDA Podium Award for her contribution to the choral arts, was honored as a finalist in the OnPoint Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2011, and was the Mt. Hood Conference "Advisor of the Year"​in 2009.  Her research on movement in the choral rehearsal was published in the ACDA Choral Journal (Vol 52, No. 5), she has authored lesson plans for NAfME and VH1 Music Studios, and she has presented at regional and state NAfME and ACDA conferences.

Her award winning choirs have performed at both ACDA and NAfME conferences, various venues across the country, and in Europe, highlighted by the honor of twice being invited to perform in the White House for President Obama and the First Lady. She also conducts and teaches at St. Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland and is the current President of the Oregon Music Education Association. She has a BM in Music Education and Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MM in Music Education and Choral Conducting from the University of St. Thomas.  It is Ms. Briggs' lifelong dream to meet Julie Andrews.

David De Lyser, Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities, Music Theory, Composition

delyser-oic.jpegDr. David De Lyser, Director of Choral Activities, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Performing & Fine Arts Department, joined the University of Portland faculty in 2010. His conducting duties at the University include the UP Singers, Chamber Choir and music director for campus musical productions. He has previously conducted the UP Orchestra. He teaches composition, orchestration, music theory and fine arts courses. Outside of the University, he is the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland and maintains a busy schedule of guest conducting and adjudicating. He holds graduate degrees in conducting and composition from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Portland, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Business from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Dr. De Lyser is a published author and award-winning composer whose works have been commissioned, premiered and performed by professional, collegiate, community and high school performing ensembles across the country.


Doctor of Arts, University of Northern Colorado
Master of Arts, University of Portland
Bachelor of Music, Minnesota State University

Rebekah Hanson, Assistant Professor, Director of Orchestral Activities, Music History

hanson-photo.jpegRebekah Hanson is joining UP as an Assistant Professor of Music and Fine Arts and Director of Orchestral Studies. As a conductor, violist and musicologist, Rebekah is especially interested in compositions by female and marginalized composers and strives to bring these lesser known works to new audiences.

With a passion for teaching, Rebekah emphasizes the collaboration and community engagement that music can inspire. Her goal as a conductor, teacher, and chamber musician is to help students and audiences understand both the technical work that goes into a performance, and also the sense of awe and wonder that music brings to our lives.

Rebekah is the President of the Oregon Suzuki Association and President-Elect of the Oregon String Teachers Association. She has spoken at the ASTA, SAA and NAfME Conferences, as well as serving as a guest clinician for orchestras and festivals throughout Oregon and Washington. In addition to playing music, Rebekah loves reading, board games, and hiking with her wife and dog.


Doctor of Arts, University of Oregon
Master of Music, University of Oregon
Bachelor of Arts, George Fox University


Patrick Murphy, Associate Professor, Music Program Head, Director of Bands, Music Education, Music Theory

murphyp.jpgDr. Patrick Murphy is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Portland. He has presented sessions at regional, national, and international conferences in both the United States and Europe. His research focuses primarily on Soviet wind band music, about which he is consulted by conductors and researchers worldwide. He has twice traveled to Moscow to conduct research and teach conducting at the Russian Academy of Music. Dr. Murphy’s degrees include a Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from the University of Arizona, an M.A. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, and a B.M. from Washington State University, also in Music Education. Locally, he is conductor of the Southwest Washington Wind Symphony, Portland Community Wind Band, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony’s Symphonic Band, in addition to being an active adjudicator and clinician.


Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting, University of Arizona
Master of Arts in Music Education, University of Minnesota
Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Washington State University

Don Norton, Assistant Professor, Director of Jazz Studies, Saxophone, Music History

nortond.jpgDon Norton is an assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies at the University of Portland. As a saxophonist, he has performed extensively in a variety of styles that include jazz, classical, world music, and musical theatre, and he has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including a tour of Costa Rica with world music group Panoramic. His research interests include jazz history and pedagogical methods for jazz and saxophone performance, and he has presented research at conferences of the Jazz Education Network and the North American Saxophone Alliance.

Don previously taught at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Spoon River College, and Laramie County Community College, and he served as a graduate assistant in the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Northern Colorado. Additionally, he has taught at the Northern Illinois University Community School of the Arts, as well as the summer jazz camps of Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, and the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. He is also a clinician with the Vandoren Regional Artist program.  More information can be found at www.donniesax.com.

Don holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Northern Illinois University. Outside of music, his interests include running, reading, watching sports and other television shows, and hanging out with his dog, Buddy.


Doctor of Arts, University of Northern Colorado
Master of Music, New England Conservatory of Music
Bachelor of Music, Northern Illinois University

Peary Webster, Adjunct Professor, Wind Ensemble