Steven Gooden

Debut Orchestra & Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor

Steven Gooden’s attraction to the clarinet was, admittedly, driven by non-musical ambitions. He selected the clarinet with no knowledge of what one looked or sounded like, but with the hopes of “sitting next to a particular cute girl who played clarinet.” While this love interest may not have blossomed, Mr. Gooden’s career as a clarinetist and musical artist certainly did.

As Assistant Conductor with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Mr. Gooden works closely with Debut Orchestra as well as woodwind players in Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, and chamber music.

Mr. Gooden conducts in the Merit School of Music’s Tuition-Free Conservatory, Instrumental and Vocal Music, and Merit Music in Communities programs. He is the band director at Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park and maintains a robust studio of private clarinet lessons.

An accomplished performer in his own right, Mr. Gooden is the clarinetist and co-artistic director of the Second City Winds, formerly the principal clarinetist for the North Shore Concert Band, and periodically performs solo recitals. He has been featured on numerous Honors Recitals and concerto performances under the batons of Mallory Thompson, Pamela Holt, Michael Palmer and Kenneth Beard. Mr. Gooden has performed with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Lakeshore Symphony Orchestra, Evanston Symphony Orchestra. He is an avid chamber performer in Chicago and around the country. Mr. Gooden has been recognized with honors in a number of competitions, and performed on the album American Manuscripts with the Georgia State University Wind Ensemble.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Gooden earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Georgia State University and earned a Masters of Music, with honors, in Clarinet Performance and Literature from Northwestern University, where he studied with Steven Cohen.

In his free time, Steven is a car enthusiast who enjoys motorcycle racing, wrenching on cars and bikes, and traveling with his wife, Jaclyn.