CYWS Conductors 

Darren Allen (he/him) was born and raised in the Cleveland area. He has worked in the Bay Village School District since 2005, where the music program has been voted a Top Music Community in the United States annually since 2003. His duties in Bay Village include High School marching band, jazz ensemble, symphonic band, concert band, and 5th and 6th grade bands at the Middle School. As a conductor and wind band composer, he works with the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony (CYWS), which performs regularly at Severance Hall. Mr. Allen has participated in six CYWS European tours, including Spain/Portugal, Poland/Hungary, Germany/Netherlands, France/Austria, Italy, and the UK. Mr. Allen received his master’s degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University, and completed his undergraduate work at Youngstown State University, where he was featured on a recording of Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite with the YSU Wind Ensemble and on the Jazz Ensemble I album, Lester Left Town. Mr. Allen is a member of Phi Beta Mu (the international bandmasters fraternity) and the American School Band Directors Association. Mr. Allen has also been chosen as one of School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s 50 directors who make a difference in 2022, representing Ohio. He performs extensively throughout the Cleveland area with numerous jazz groups, including the Skatch Anderssen big band, and Powerhouse 5. Mr. Allen and his wife Alice, a harpist, perform together in the Parma Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Winds. Mr. Allen is excited that his daughter plays clarinet in CYWS.

Mark Awad (he/him) is currently director of bands at Bay Middle School.  At the middle school, he teaches band in grades five through eight, in addition to the middle school jazz band. Mr. Awad is also the assistant director of the Bay High Rocket Marching Band. Additionally, he is the director of the pit orchestra for the musicals at Bay High School. Some of the musicals that he has conducted include: 42nd Street, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, The Addams Family, Shrek the Musical, Chicago: High School Edition, and Bye Bye Birdie. Mr. Awad has also served as the chairperson for the Ohio Music Education Association, District 4 Middle School Honors Festival. Mr. Awad earned his master’s degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Youngstown State University. His primary instrument is the trombone, on which he continues to perform.

Daniel Crain (he/him) is a public-school music educator and current band director in the Shaker Heights City School District. His responsibilities include: High School Symphonic Band, Eighth Grade Concert Winds, High School Jazz Band and Music Composition. Mr. Crain also co-directs the Pride of Shaker Heights Raider Marching Band. Prior to his appointment to Shaker Heights, Mr. Crain taught five years in the Mentor Public Schools, Mentor, Ohio, where he was the head concert band and assistant marching director. Mr. Crain also taught middle/high school band in Youngstown City School District for one year and middle/high school band in the Perry Local Schools in Massillon for two years. A native of North Royalton, Ohio, Mr. Crain earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University in 2003 and his Master of Arts in Music degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2008. Mr. Crain has completed additional graduate coursework in conducting and music education at Capital University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Northwestern University. In addition to his responsibilities at Shaker Heights, Mr. Crain has been involved with the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony (CYWS) organization since 1999. He served as the conductor of the CYWS II Concert Winds from its inception in 2009 until 2016, and he currently serves as the organization's co-music director and conductor of CYWS Group I. Mr. Crain served as the Conductor and Music Director of the Lakeland Civic Band at Lakeland Community College from 2017-2022. Mr. Crain has also been an active volunteer for the Ohio Music Education Association, serving as the District 7 secretary/treasurer from 2013-2015, the District IV & VII High School Honors Festival chair from 2013-2014, and on the OMEA Properties Committee for the 2015 and 2017 Professional Development Conferences held in Cleveland, Ohio. In June 2019, Mr. Crain was nominated and admitted to the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA). Mr. Crain would like to express his gratitude for the opportunity to work with all the talented Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony musicians.

Michael Komperda (he/him) is an alumnus of CYWS and a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree. Mr. Komperda teaches in Rocky River, where he directs the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, two high school Jazz Bands, the Pit Orchestra and the Pep Band, and teaches Music Technology and AP Music Theory courses at Rocky River High School. He also teaches beginning Brass & Percussion and third grade music at Kensington Intermediate School. Outside of his teaching duties, Mr. Komperda plays clarinet in the Cleveland Winds, and directs and plays in pit orchestras around the Cleveland area. Recently, he has performed in productions of Shrek the Musical, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, and Mary Poppins. Professionally, Mr. Komperda is a member of the Ohio Music Education Association, and the Greater Cleveland Solo & Ensemble Association.