Peter Markes

Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.

Shinichi Suzuki

Video: Former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Peter Markes leaves the classroom to pursue music career and start music education program

Read the full NewsOK story by Brandy McDonnell


For over fifteen years, Peter Markes (pronounced Marcus) enjoyed a highly successful career as a classroom music educator. For most of his teaching career, he served as director of orchestras at Edmond North High School. In 2014, Markes was named the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, representing over 45,000 Oklahoma teachers through numerous speaking and teaching engagements. While at Edmond North, the orchestra received fourteen consecutive State Sweepstakes Awards with ten consecutive Accent Medals, and in 2012, he led the ensemble in performance at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Also under his direction, the orchestra twice performed on the National Youth Concert in Carnegie Hall. For eight years, Markes conducted the Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic and still serves as the Artistic Director for the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras Summer Symphony Strings Camp. He continues to be in demand throughout the region as a guest clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. He holds a B.M. in Instrumental Education from Oklahoma City University and a M.E. in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma.

In addition to his work in music education, Markes performs full time with the band, Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road. As a lifelong classically and folk trained violinist and hobby guitarist, Markes has had the chance to perform with musical partner, Kyle Dillingham in nearly thirty countries in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 2016, the band released their first album in eight years, titled Fear or Faith, and in 2000 while in Bangkok, Thailand, the duo (Kyle & Peter) recorded an album of thirteen original songs, titled Outside the Box. The group has received numerous awards, including the International Acoustic Music Award and the Oklahoma City Gazette’s “Best Band” recognition. They have opened for the Oakridge Boys and the Charlie Daniels Band and have performed throughout the world from audiences of just a few royalty to crowds of over 15,000. On behalf of the U.S. State Department, they performed a tour of Liberia on a Cultural Crossroads grant and a five-week American Music Abroad tour of Korea, Taiwan, Burma and Russia. Horseshoe Road has been presented on many concert series in PACs and on college campuses throughout the Midwest, and they have performed their school program, Playing with Purpose, with the Norman, Edmond, Mid-Del, and Bethany (Oklahoma) Public School Orchestras.

In 2013, Markes 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 he was also named one of the 40 Under Forty by OKC Biz magazine. In 2009, Markes 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, Markes 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.

At Oklahoma City University, Markes specialized in violin and guitar and 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 semester playing euphonium with the OCU Wind Ensemble.

Among his several conducting opportunities, Markes conducted the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in a highly acclaimed American music celebration in Taipei’s Daan Forest Park. Additionally, he led the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in the national anthem, a tradition that begins each OKC Phil Classics concert. He conducted the European premiere of Summer Song by composer Samuel Magrill while on tour through Germany with the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, and with the Edmond North Orchestra, he has conducted in the Chicago Symphony Center, the Music Center at Strathmore (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 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.

Markes has served on numerous music education boards, including as Orchestra Division Vice-President for the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, President for the Oklahoma North Central Honor Orchestra and the American String Teachers Association Oklahoma chapter, and he has twice served as the Oklahoma Music Educators Association All-State Honor Orchestra chair and 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 North High School. His professional memberships include the Parent-Teacher Association, the American String Teachers Association, the National Association for Music Education Oklahoma chapter, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Mu Chapter), and the Pi Kappa Lambda honor music fraternity. He is a member of St. Francis Catholic Church and resides in Oklahoma City with his wife Kris, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and their two sons.

Peter Markes: Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Finalist Video