Congratulations on Retirement

Memories of 42 years of great music brought to life under the baton of Maestro Jere Lantz

I was very fortunate to have seen Jere work outside of the orchestra setting, years ago, when he gave music history lessons to a small group of homeschoolers above what used to be the Hamilton Music store. I remember feeling guilty not paying college tuition for his sort of lecture! And even though my sons were young elementary age, they were spellbound! 

Later, Jere went on to teach music history to a larger group at a homeschool co-op, which I helped to organize. For years, he would drive down from the Cities in all sorts of weather to work all afternoon teaching three different age groups of students, from K-12. The kids loved that class because, somehow, he adapted the information to reach very different ages! That was a LOT of work, for which he essentially donated his time, for very little recognition. I don’t know how he did it, but his passion for music came streaming out to inspire those very lucky children. 

Thank you, Jere! You have positively impacted the lives of many, young and old, truly bringing great music to life.

–Amy Andrews, Season Ticket Holder


Jere’s program notes were sensational. I talked with Jere several times well over half an hour during COVID. We discussed the Beethoven tome of over 1,000 pages. Also attended several of his pre-concert classes at Kellogg. Truly a remarkable man, and I will miss him greatly!

–Wayne Servais, Season Ticket Holder


My nine seasons (2004-2013) with the Rochester Symphony Chorale had many notable benefits. Primarily, expanded musical growth, and sitting under the baton of “The Maestro,” Jere Lanz. Singing with a professional orchestra was very exciting and rewarding. It was fun watching Jere conduct both players and singers, and to see his rapport with audiences. At rehearsal, Jere’s many stories about composers, history and basically everything convinced me he had more information and insight than anyone I knew. Congratulations, Jere! Thank you for your dedication, giftedness and compassion.

–Anita Allen-Wilson, Former Chorale Soprano


It was wonderful to be a part of this concert as a member of the Chorale. 50 years ago, I actually played cello under Jere’s direction in St. Cloud. A nice closing of a circle for me.

–John Sauer, Chorale Bass

The plaque that Rochester Symphony presented to Jere Lantz at his final concerts reads, “With heartfelt gratitude for 42 years of exemplary leadership, inspired concerts, and a wealth of music illuminated… thank you for bringing great music to life!” That sentiment encapsulates so well what Jere has meant to the organization and our broader community.

I particularly love the phrase “a wealth of music illuminated.” We have been fortunate all these years to have a Music Director who goes beyond simply directing music on stage. Jere’s ability to bring life to the music through sharing the background and context of music is nothing short of legendary. And his way of articulating that to any audience – whether young children, adults who are encountering orchestral music for the first time, or individuals who are well-steeped in the canon of classical music and have strongly-held opinions about it – Jere is able to converse in interesting and respectful ways to anybody.

Jere has represented the organization well and without compromise, while still being willing to try new things and new approaches. It’s a balance that not all music organizations have had at their helm. We have a daunting challenge ahead of us to replace a Music Director who got it right so often. And I am so full of gratitude knowing Jere will be watching and cheering us on as we move forward.

–Amy Lindstrom, President/CEO, Rochester Symphony

Responses to the Farewell Concert

We enjoyed all the info and history about Jere and it was presented in such a celebratory way. He shared such interesting information about the pieces performed that he arranged and those arranged by other composers. We left in a festive mood and looking forward to buying tickets to the next event. We are planning to attend all of the Rochester symphonies in 2023. We will miss Jere and wish him all the best.


We will miss Jere, but wish him well in his retirement. When he arrived, he was like fresh air and such a nice, talented man.


A delightful farewell concert to express gratitude to a dedicated musician. We love you, Jere Lantz.


Bravo, Maestro Lantz! Thank you for 42 years.


Jere will be sorely missed. We’ve known him for many of the 42 years. He deserves a long and happy retirement.


A wonderful concert. Congratulations to Jere Lantz. We will miss you.

Maestro Jere Lantz Retirement In the News


Update: Music Director Search

November 2022

As of December 31, 2022, our beloved Music Director of more than forty years, Maestro Jere Lantz, will retire.

Early last spring, the Rochester Symphony Board of Directors developed a search committee tasked with finding a panel of candidates. The committee has been searching for the most qualified candidates to serve the Rochester community and take the Rochester Symphony into the future.

Knowing that replacing someone of Maestro Lantz’s caliber would be no easy feat–especially since we have had decades to grow in appreciation of him–the committee has been hard at work receiving applications and reviewing conducting videos. When we received a large number of applications from an impressive set of conductors, it became clear we would find an amazing Music Director for Rochester Symphony’s future. At this stage, it has become difficult to narrow down the options to select just one who will be the right match. We will need your help. Please look forward to joining concerts next season so that you can weigh in on each candidate in our post-concert surveys.

Director Search Timeline
Summer 2022: Received applications and reviewed candidate submissions
Fall 2022: Interviewing candidates with intention to select 3-5 final candidates to be invited to conduct a concert in the 2023/2024 season
October 2023 through April 2024: Host final candidates to prepare and conduct one concert each, meet with leadership, and participate in educational programming
Spring 2024: Announce Rochester Symphony’s next Music Director
From the President/CEO
Dear Friends & Supporters,

With interviews underway, we are on track to schedule candidate finalists for the 2023/2024 concert season. In the meantime, we are fortunate that St. Olaf legend, Steven Amundson, will be conducting our February and March concerts as an interim/guest conductor to fill out the current season.

As Jere nears his well-earned retirement, there is one more concert set for you to connect with him. On December 10 and 11 we will be performing the full canon of Jere Lantz Christmas music arrangements–we are not entirely biased when we say they’re some of the best out there! Finally, plans are starting for a celebration of Jere’s impact on music in Rochester to occur in spring 2023 after he’s officially done. We’ll keep you updated on when that will happen and what it will look like.

Amy Lindstrom

Memorial: Tom Schneller

Friends of Rochester Symphony, As you may have heard, Tom Schneller–who has been with us as timpanist and percussion section leader for more than forty years–passed away Sunday evening in an auto accident. He had just played timpani in a concert with the Dubuque Symphony and was driving back to his home in Appleton, WI when the accident occurred.

No one in my time with Rochester Symphony has been more dedicated or committed than Tom Schneller. His knowledge of the use of percussion in the orchestral repertoire was encyclopedic. He took great care to be sure that at each moment we were using just the right instrument with the right sound to make our performances authentic and effective.

Tom put more miles on the road to be able to perform with musical colleagues than anyone else I know. After Dubuque this past weekend, he was going to play timpani with the La Crosse Symphony this weekend before returning to be with us a week later. His major musical commitment for the past four decades has been Rochester Symphony.

We will miss Tom as the anchor of our percussion section. Personally, I will miss his knowledge and insights about scores through all of music history. There are few of us for whom RS has meant as much as it did to Tom. Our deepest condolences to his family.

Jere Lantz
Artistic Director

Tom Schneller Celebration of Life
You are invited to join the Celebration of Life service to honor Tom Schneller, Timpanist for Rochester Symphony for over 40 years.

When: Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 11am (prelude starting at 10:30am)

Where: Pax Christi Church (4135 18th Avenue NW) in Rochester, MN

What to Expect: Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale musicians will provide music during the prelude. Retired Maestro Jere Lantz will share a reading and some thoughts about Tom. Pat Anderson will lead members of the chorale (with musicians from the orchestra) in closing the service with the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Those who knew Tom are welcome to join this meaningful time to be together.

Obituary Written by the Family:

Thomas Scott Schneller, 75, of Neenah, WI, and formerly of Lacrosse, WI, Minneapolis, MN, and Royal Oak and Detroit, MI, lost his life suddenly and tragically on November 6, 2022, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in rural Wisconsin. Born to George Ramsey Schneller Jr, and Carroll (Cook) Schneller on February 23, 1947, he was the oldest of three children, and a proud US Army military veteran.

In addition to his military service, Tom’s professional life’s contribution was in his much beloved field of music. Tom received his BA from Wayne State University, and his MS in Education and Music Performance from Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam. He was a proud professional musician his entire working career with vast and significant lifelong contributions to the field, including membership in the international award winning Men’s Glee Club, the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Shell Lake Arts Camp. He served as President of the Wisconsin Percussive Arts Society, and he co-authored the percussion methods book “Modern School for Mallet-Keyboard Instruments.” Tom was also an educator, working as a faculty member with the LaCrosse, WI school district, as well as in several posts at the university level, and many of his students have gone on to become successful university instructors and professional musicians playing in orchestras all over the country.

But his most beloved contribution in the field of music was his role as Timpanist and Principal Percussionist for The Rochester Symphony in Rochester, MN where he was “highly valued for his impeccable sound and knowledge of music.”

Although he played for many orchestras throughout the country, he was extremely proud of his contributions to and service in the West Point US Army Military Band and West Point Alumni Band and American Legion Band of the Tonawanda’s, Buffalo, NY.

Along with his commitment to and love for his chosen vocation, Tom’s teaching abilities also extended into the world of healthcare. Trained in the specialty of lymph drainage therapy at the Upledger Institute by the renowned Dr. Bruno Chickly, he become a certified lymphedema practitioner, and ultimately achieved certification to teach new students this healing specialty through the Upledger Institute and Chickly Institute. Tom also loved the great outdoors, enjoying hunting, skiing, and hiking, and spending time at the family cabin in Wellston, MI built by his father and grandfather. He was also a member of and of service to the National Ski Patrol and LaCrosse Dive Rescue Team and served for a time with the New Richmond WI Police Department.

Tom was the beloved companion of Carolyn Liarakos, loving father of Scott Schneller; Brian Schneller; Alison (Scotty) Barkholtz and Kristin (Patrick) Kerwin. Cherished grandfather of Julian Kerwin. Former husband of Claudia Schneller Melby. Dear brother of David (Heddy) Schneller and Maurita (Wes) Pluff and uncle of many nieces and nephews. Tom is preceded in death by his parents, as well as his niece Juliet Schneller and nephew Hans Schneller.

Tom was laid to rest in a beautiful wooded setting at the Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King, Wisconsin on November 18, 2022. An additional memorial service celebrating Toms love of historic drumming will be held May 20, 2023, at the UB Newman Center, Buffalo, NY.