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After 16 years in the orchestra classroom, Peter Markes (pronounced Marcus) resigned from teaching to pursue performing music full time. For 15 years he was director of orchestras at Edmond North High School in Edmond, Oklahoma. In 2014, he was named the State Teacher of the Year in Oklahoma, representing over 50,000 Oklahoma educators throughout the state.
During his tenure at Edmond North, the orchestra received fourteen consecutive State Sweepstakes Awards with ten consecutive Accent Medals, the highest honor given by the state activities association. The orchestra was honored by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association as the 2012 and 2008 High School Honor Orchestra to perform at the state conference, and also in 2012, performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Under his direction, the orchestra twice performed on the National Youth Concert in Carnegie Hall.
As a solo artist, Peter specializes in singer-songwriter acoustic-pop genres and enjoys playing guitar and singing from the influences of James Taylor and other 60s & 70s folk-pop artists. Audiences are also entertained with his solo electric violin and looping pedal station performances. He performs regularly on the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s “Art Moves” series, and can be seen regularly throughout the OKC metro. As a songwriter, Peter has over 20 original songs registered with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and in 2018 released his debut solo album, titled I Have A Dream, published under Songs To ReJoyce Publishing (BMI) and available wherever you download music or on his website.
As a lifelong classically and folk trained violinist and guitarist, Peter has had the chance to perform with musical partner and double-third-cousin, Kyle Dillingham, in over thirty countries in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 2000 while in Bangkok, Thailand, they recorded an album of thirteen original songs, titled Outside the Box, available on iTunes. Peter now performs full-time with Dillingham as part of his band. In 2013, the band was selected as one of ten performing ensembles to represent the U.S. Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs in the American Music Abroad (AMA) program and toured for five weeks in Korea, Taiwan, Burma, and northeastern Russia. In 2014 they performed as part of the 4th of July celebrations for the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. The band was showcased at the 2018 CMA FEST in Nashville, TN and completed another AMA tour to Kuwait and Kosovo in 2019. Most recently, Horseshoe Road had their debut on the Grand Ole Opry, the stage that made country music famous.
In 2020 Peter traveled on behalf of U.S. Embassy KSA to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to serve lead guitar instructor for the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture & Arts in Riyadh. In 2015, he finished an eight year span as conductor for the Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic, and he still serves as Artistic Director for the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras Summer Symphony Strings Camp. While on tour through Germany with the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra in 2004, Peter conducted the European premiere of Summer Song by composer Samuel Magrill. With the Edmond North Orchestra, he has conducted in the Chicago Symphony Center, the Music Center at Strathmore (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), the Dallas Meyerson Symphony Center, the Oklahoma Civic Center Music Hall, and the world-famous Carnegie Hall where the ensemble was met with numerous standing ovations. He is regularly invited to clinic and conduct all-city orchestra and honor orchestra festivals throughout the region.
Peter holds a masters degree with honors in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma and also graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors from Oklahoma City University where he earned his bachelor degree in music education with emphasis in violin and guitar. At OCU he was twice selected as a concerto competition winner on violin. In addition, he performed on master classes with the ProArte String Quartet, violinist Corey Cerovsek, and Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano (The Red Violin). He also played in the pit orchestra for sixteen productions with the Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, and spent one term playing euphonium with the OCU wind ensemble.
In 2013, Peter was selected as the Teacher of the Year for the Edmond Public Schools. In the same year, the National Federation of High Schools named him the Outstanding Music Educator for Region VI (OK, AR, TX, KS, CO) and also one of the 40 Under Forty by OKC Biz magazine. In 2009, Peter was selected by School Band and Orchestra magazine as the Oklahoma representative for the nation’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” In 2007, he was selected as the Cheyenne Middle School Teacher of the Year and in 2003, the Enid Public Schools Resident Teacher of the Year. Also in 2007, Peter was awarded a Governor’s Commendation from Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry and has been honored three times by former students as their Teacher of Honor at the Oklahoma Academic All-State Celebration of Excellence. He has been named Teacher of Today by the Oklahoma City Masonic Fraternity and received the 2012 Global Health Inspirational Teacher Award for the North High School vertical schools. Most recently, he became the second inductee to the Wall of Honor at his alma mater, Emerson Middle School in Enid, OK.
Peter served as Orchestra Division Vice-President for the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, president for the Oklahoma North Central Honor Orchestra, president for the American String Teachers Association Oklahoma chapter, has twice served as the Oklahoma Music Educators Association All-State Honor Orchestra chair, and served two terms on the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Music Advisory Board. He has performed as the concertmaster for the Enid Symphony Orchestra, is a three-year alum of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, and performed two seasons as a section violinist with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. He is certified-trained by the Advanced Placement College Board to teach Advanced Placement Music Theory, a course he taught for eight years at Edmond North High School. His professional memberships include or have included the Parent-Teacher Association, the American String Teachers Association, the National Association for Music Education Oklahoma chapter, the National Education Association Oklahoma and Edmond chapters, the North Central Honor Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, and the Pi Kappa Lambda honor music fraternity. Peter resides in Oklahoma City with his wife, Kris, and their sons, Patrick and Vincent.
LAST UPDATED JUNE 2020.