Bill Bitter is currently in his thirty-sixth year with Gilbert Public Schools. During that time he has taught orchestra and band at all levels, elementary through high school. He is presently Director of Orchestras and Chairman of the Performing Arts department at Highland High School. Prior to teaching at Highland, Mr. Bitter spent twelve years as Director of Orchestras and Assistant Band Director at Gilbert High School. Highland High School opened in the fall of 1993 and the Highland Orchestras currently consist of five performing ensembles, with an enrollment of over 300 students. In December 2002, the Highland Symphonic Strings became the first orchestra from an Arizona high school to perform in the world renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Highland Symphonic Strings have also appeared three times at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL: in 1997, 2007, and 2013.
An Arizona native, Mr. Bitter began his music education in the public schools of Scottsdale, AZ. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Arizona State University in 1981 and completed his Master of Music from ASU in 1990. He has performed as a member of the ASU Symphony, the Flagstaff Summer Festival Orchestra, and as first violinist of “Simply Strings”, a professional string quintet. Mr. Bitter also conducted and performed in various musical theater productions for the Gilbert Fine Arts Association from 1982 – 1993.
Mr. Bitter has been active in the Arizona Band and Orchestra Director’s Association, serving as Vice President of High School Orchestra Activities, State Concert Festival Chairman, Fall Orchestra Festival Chairman, and Regional Orchestra Chairman. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician for festivals throughout the southwest United States and Hawaii. In 2001, Mr. Bitter was awarded the O. M. Hartsell “Excellence in Teaching Music” Award by the Arizona Music Educators Association. In 2009, he was named the Outstanding Public School Teacher in Arizona by the Arizona Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. In 2014, he was named the Arizona Music Educator of the Year by the Arizona Music Educators Association.