Daniel F. Southerland

Principal Conductor


The 2016 season is Daniel F. Southerland’s seventh as Principal Conductor of the Urbana Pops Orchestra.  In 2009, he founded the orchestra with the mission of blending superior musicianship with the training of local students. Under his baton, the UPO has performed a wide range of orchestral, film score, and musical theatre repertoire in concerts such as “Once Upon a Tune,”  “Around the World in 80 Minutes,” “Magical Tales,” “That’s No Moon,” and “Sounds of Adventure.”  

In addition, Southerland is an accomplished composer and arranger.  His performed works include “Fanfare Agnitio,” performed by UPO’s brass ensemble and the Millikin High School Honor Band.  He has studied composition with John Stafford II and Robert Sheldon.

Bedsides working with the exceptional student interns of the UPO, Southerland’s teaching experience includes several Decatur metro area schools, including Sangamon Valley High School, where he has a private saxophone studio, and St. Teresa High School, where he conducts their spring musical pit orchestra.  He also stays active as a performer, playing during the summer with the Decatur Municipal Band.  

In 2008, he became the conductor for Urbana Park District’s Youth Summer Theatre program, which led to the founding of the UPO.  His conducting teachers have included Michael Luxner, Bradley Holmes, and Jim Culbertson. As a member of the Illinois Council of Orchestras, Southerland is currently involved in a conductor mentorship program with Victor Yampolsky, Director of Orchestras at Northwestern University and former violinist of the Boston Symphony.