Christopher Sumner, composer with Grand Mesa Strings.

Christopher Sumner

Dr. Sumner has been the Instrumental Music Director at Piscataway High School in Piscataway, New Jersey since 2000. Prior to that appointment, he also taught at Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, and Union County College. He received his Master of Music from Mannes College of Music, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University. He has also been the Artistic director and conductor of the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band since 2014.

"Doc," as he is affectionately known at his school, is also an active professional musician both as a conductor and performer. In addition to his tenure at Piscataway as director of the Wind Ensemble and Orchestras, he has also been a guest conductor for the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, and Rutgers University Wind Ensemble, as well as assisting Maestro Mariusz Smojli with the Riverside Symphonia. As a free-lance clarinetist, Dr. Sumner is the principal clarinetist of the Riverside Symphonia for which he is also the personnel manager and contractor. He has also performed with numerous other orchestras and jazz bands across the country.

Dr. Sumner has recorded on the Mark and Capstone record labels. He was accepted into the Julliard School Summer Conductor’s Symposium and was nominated as a semi-finalist for the “GRAMMY Signature Schools Award” in 2014, sponsored by the Grammy Foundation. Dr. Sumner was also invited to present a conducting seminar in 2018, and a Concert Band literature seminar in 2020, both at the New Jersey Music Educators State Convention.