Mike Lopinto is a Pine Belt arts icon. At Southern Miss, he coordinated events with classical celebrities from Plåcido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and Sir James Galway to pop icons Dionne Warwick, the Pointer Sisters, and Patti LaBelle as well as designing and directing the award-winning Symphony Galas and later, the Arts Galas. His life revolves around the arts having directed, choreographed, performed in and designed hundreds of productions in his lifetime. He is the PR/Marketing Director for the School of Music and one of the creators of FestivalSouth®. He is the creative director of Consult M, a multi-faceted arts development organization that has worked with arts organizations around the country.
Founding Artistic Director
Jay Dean received his doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been the Orchestra Director at The University of Southern Mississippi since 1988. His work as a conductor has reached many orchestras in Europe, the United States and Latin America. In addition, he has directed performances with internationally known classical icons such as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sir James Galway, Joshua Bell, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, and many more. He has also conducted popular concerts with major artists such as Doc Severinsen, The Pointer Sisters, Patti La Belle, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, and Sandy Patty.He is the Founding Artistic Director of FestivalSouth and General Director of the Hattiesburg Concert Association. He has been the Artistic Executive director of the Vicksburg International Chamber Music Festival, Artistic Director of the Southern Arts Festival, and Music Coordinator for the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange. In 2009, under his leadership, the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra received the Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts and he was inducted into the USM Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2011 he received an award for Leadership in the Arts from the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association and received the Excellence for Global Arts and Culture award from the Mississippi World Trade Center. In addition to his work at Southern Miss, Dean is currently the Artistic Director of the Natchez Festival of Music and the Mississippi Opera.