Josh Aerie is a sought-after symphonic conductor, cellist, music educator and arts advocate. Josh’s career highlights span a wide array of credits and accomplishments, including major-label recordings heard throughout the country, nationally syndicated television appearances, premier performances as both conductor and cellist, numerous awards and appointments to leadership positions in the arts.
Josh is the Music Director with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Columbus, Indiana. The CSO is the state’s oldest symphony, and Josh is honored to be the fifth Music Director in its nearly 100-year legacy. In addition, Josh frequently guest-conducts throughout the Midwest. Recent appearances as guest conductor include with the Elkhart Symphony, the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Notre Dame Symphony, Notre Dame Collegium Musicum and with GRAMMY Award winners Third Coast Percussion.
Josh served as mentor for the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, taught Advanced Conducting at Saint Mary’s College, was Music Director of the Hyde Park Youth Symphony in Chicago and Artistic Director of the Elkhart County Youth Honors Orchestra program at Goshen College.
As a cellist, Josh has performed throughout the country as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. He is a founding member of the Sylvan Trio and the Gichigami Piano Trio. He has numerous recording credits, including on the United Artists, Innova, and Vitamin Records labels, and on film soundtracks. He has appeared on nationally syndicated television programs and national tours at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tanglewood, Strathmore Hall, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian museums.
Josh can be heard on classical radio programs and streaming services nationwide. Recent features include multiple appearances on Performance Today with the Sylvan Trio (the number one-ranked classical radio program in the U.S.); and What’s New, and New Classical Tracks – nationally syndicated new music showcases. In collaboration with Cincinnati composer Rick Sowash, Josh recently released an album of new music, titled Seasonal Breezes: Five Chamber Works by Rick Sowash Featuring Josh Aerie, Cello.
In addition to performing and conducting, Josh is currently Executive Director of The Music Village, a community musical arts center and school. TMV celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse local and global communities in the heart of downtown South Bend, Indiana.
In 2013, Josh relocated to South Bend from Duluth, Minnesota where he served on the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, the College of St. Scholastica, and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. Previously, he was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, the Red Cedar Symphony Orchestra, and the Duluth Community Orchestra. In 2010 he co-founded the North Shore Philharmonic, a summer festival orchestra, and in 2007 he founded the Woodland Chamber Music Workshop, an annual immersive opportunity for adult musicians of all abilities.
An outspoken proponent for music and arts in education and the community, Josh served as Chair of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Board of Directors and was Advisor to the Minnesota State Arts Board. In 2010 he was awarded a McKnight/ARAC Artist Fellowship Grant, and in 2009 he was selected as a 20 Under 40 Award recipient in the Duluth News Tribune’s annual recognition of 20 community leaders under the age of forty.
Josh received his Master of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Colorado where he was the cellist in the Graduate String Quartet, a fellowship program with the Grammy Award-winning Takacs Quartet. Josh completed his undergraduate work at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College where he received both a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Anthropology.