The Sound of Music: Westfield resident’s passion plays out in conducting Indiana orchestras


Adam Bodony might not be a name most people recognize, but he has conducted musical ensembles around the world, from Missouri to the Czech Republic.

In 2013, the Westfield resident was honored with the Beckmann Emerging Artist Award by the Arts Council of Indianapolis for being a young professional with exceptional talent and promise in his field. He can be heard playing second trombone on two albums and has performed frequently with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Since 2015, Bodony has served as the artistic director for the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra and conductor of the IYO Symphony Orchestra, which consists of high school students from across the Indianapolis metropolitan area and beyond.

Not only that, since 2017, Bodony has served as assistant professor and director of orchestras at Purdue University, where he conducts the Purdue Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras.

Bodony maintains an apartment in West Lafayette, where he often stays during the workweek. However, by Friday, Bodony is eager to return to his home in Westfield, where he lives with his family just off the Monon Trail.

“I feel like Hamilton County is my home,” he said.

Bodony began playing euphonium in middle school. However, in addition to playing in the band, he developed a love for orchestral music, largely from listening to John Williams’ iconic movie themes.

Bodony wanted to play with the New World Orchestra, a youth ensemble that Susan Kitterman had started in Indianapolis in the early 1980s. Kitterman listened to his audition and said she would love to have him play with the orchestra – but he would have to learn to play the trombone because the euphonium is not an orchestral instrument. So he did.

Throughout high school, Bodony played the euphonium in the Hamilton Southeastern High School band and trombone in the NWO. At DePauw University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in trombone performance and religious studies in 2008.

When he was finishing up his master’s degree in trombone performance at Indiana University, he began volunteering as a sectional coach for NWO.

“I just wanted to be involved in it again,” he said.

Before long, Bodony became an assistant conductor for Kitterman. He moved into conducting the mid-level orchestra. Then he was named executive director for the NWO.

“I didn’t have any business experience,” he said. “I just knew the organization so well, and I was so passionate about it. I convinced them to let me give it a try.”

When Kitterman retired from NWO in 2015, Bodony took over as artistic director and as conductor for the IYO Symphony Orchestra. The following year, he conducted the orchestra in its debut performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

In 2020, NWO changed its name to Indianapolis Youth Orchestra to create more awareness in the area and to erase confusion regarding the New World Symphony, which began in Miami in 2011.

Now, the youth orchestra is entering its 37th season with more than 200 musicians aged 9 to 18 in three leveled ensembles.

“It’s important to support and expect artistry even from young people because they’re inherently creative,” Bodony said. “It’s often through an instrument or ensemble experience that kids get to explore being their own person.”

Bodony said Indiana is primarily known as a marching band state. At the Bands of America Grand National Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bodony said finals often come down to Texas and Indiana.

“All the band instruments have a certain color and uniformity to their sound,” Bodony said. “Adding string instruments to an educational experience adds variety because the strings offer sounds that winds don’t. The beauty of sound – it’s a wider palette if you will, if you include more instruments.”

The Indianapolis Youth Orchestra will perform at 5 p.m. Oct. 29 at Hilbert Circle Theatre at 45 Monument Circle in Indianapolis. For tickets or for more information, visit /

“I continue to be so proud and impressed at what young kids can do,” Bodony said. “I want everyone to know.”

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Adam Bodony directs his IYO students as they rehearse Tchaikivsky’s “Marche Slave” at Butler University. (Photo by Amy Adams)

Q&A with Adam Bodony

Who is your favorite composer?

They all have a special place in my heart.

What are some of your favorite pieces to conduct?

Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” (from Disney’s “Fantasia”) and Shostokovich’s “Symphony No. 5”

What did you listen to in high school?

I bought the John Williams’ soundtrack to “Star Wars: Episode I” and listened to it until it wouldn’t play anymore.

What music would people be surprised to know you listen to?

Techno – Diplo, Skrillex, Deadmau5

What music do you never listen to?