Peter Reit, Principal
– Christopher and Joanne Stavrou Chair
Peter Reit also plays principal horn with the Westchester Philharmonic and Scandia Symphony Orchestras. He has performed with such illustrious ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the American Ballet Theater, and the New York City Opera and Ballet Orchestras. Mr. Reit has also toured worldwide with the American Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. He performs frequently in a duo with his wife, harpist Alyssa Reit, and plays regularly with the Greenwich Chamber Players. Mr. Reit is featured on CDs of all musical genres, and has been heard on television, radio, and movie soundtracks. His jazz experience includes performing as a member of the Mel Lewis Big Band at the Village Vanguard, plus recordings and worldwide tours with the Bob Belden Ensemble. He has played in the orchestras for many Broadway shows, and is currently in his thirty-second year with the Broadway hit The Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Reit is on the horn faculty at SUNY Purchase College and Vassar College.
Shelagh Abate is one of New York’s most sought-after musicians, known for her warm and assertive sound, her versatility, and musical intuition. She has opened more than one dozen Broadway productions. Since arriving in New York in 2006, she has performed regularly with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Mostly Mozart Festival, The American Ballet Theater, The American Symphony Orchestra, and The Opera Orchestra of New York. She has been conducted by some of the great musicians of our time: Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Andre Previn, James Conlon, Gunther Schuller, John Williams, Marin Alsop, Jaime Laredo, Keith Lockhart, and Placido Domingo, to name a few. Shelagh has established fluency in the commercial realm as well as the classical, having performed as part of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Michel Legrand, among others. A winner of the Coleman Competition (2000), and a founding member of the award-winning Triton Brass (Fischoff, Lyon & Concert Artist Guild, 2005), Shelagh’s early musical influences include extensive study with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Richard Sebring, Toronto Symphony’s principal horn Neil Deland, and renowned pedagogue and performer Laura Klock. She has been a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and of The National Repertory Orchestra. Shelagh holds a B.A. from Boston College, an M.M. from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she was a recipient of the Howard W.Lebow Scholarship, and an Artist Diploma from The New England Conservatory of Music.
Kathleen Ditmer began playing horn at an early age in the church. She was awarded scholarship to the Hartford Conservatory and won the solo competition at age 14. She joined the musician’s union at 17 to play next to her teacher, Andy Spearman, with the Hartford and New Britain Symphonies. She attended Hartt College of Music studying with James Jacobs and Paul Ingraham then moved to Nashville, where she finished her BM while recording studios, playing extra with the Nashville Symphony and shows at Opryland, with the help of her teacher, Eberhard Ramm. She traveled to Europe and was accepted by Gerd Seifert to the Musikhochschule in Berlin. Her Graduate Assistant studies at Florida State University included jazz arranging and assistant horn and trumpet instructor before finishing her MA degree at Western Illinois University. Ms. Ditmer began a fruitful freelance career in New York City where she has played with such respected groups as American Ballet Theater, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She can be heard on numerous TV and movie soundtracks, as well as Broadway shows. Ms. Ditmer loves to share her knowledge, inspiration and passion for the horn in all genres of music. She started teaching as a camp counselor and went on to create free music programs in her community. She has taught for the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division and Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She is presently on the faculty of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, New Jersey Youth Symphony, The Ridgewood Conservatory and is the Greenwich, CT Continuing Education French horn instructor.
Howard Heller, a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, has been a member of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra horn section for over thirty years. During that time, he has also been an active free-lance musician in the tri-state area, playing with numerous local and regional ensembles. In addition to playing French Horn, Howard also plays the highland bagpipes, and has been a member of the New York University Pipes & Drums since 1992. In 2017 he was the solo bagpiper for an off-Broadway production of Brigadoon at New York's City Center. Howard has also had an extensive career in media and music programming for television, where he spent many years as a member of the directorial team for the "Live From Lincoln Center" series on PBS. He has worked on concerts from The White House, received an Emmy Award, and recently directed three live webcasts for Lincoln Center's American Songbook. Howard is married to Marilyn Nichols, a member of the administrative staff of The New York Philharmonic. They were married in 2005 and were honored to have David and Nonie Gilbert in attendance at their wedding. Howard looks forward to contributing toward the future success of The Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.