MAY 2022 OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Ms. Gabriela Mora Fallas
Gabriela “Gabi” Mora began her music studies at the National Institute of Music of Costa Rica. She participated in music festivals and workshops abroad, including the “American Academy of Conducting” in Aspen Music Festival, the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in USA, and Seminars in Brazil and Costa Rica. She completed her master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Boston Conservatory in USA.
After concluding her conducting studies in Boston, she returned to Costa Rica to actively participate in the musical scene of the country, where she was awarded the National Music Award in 2017 given by the Ministry of Culture of Costa Rica for her achievements as a conductor. Gabriela has served as guest conductor and cover conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, and principal Artistic Director and Conductor of Cartago Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica.
Today Gabriela serves as one of the conductors of The University of Texas University Orchestra where she continues her Doctoral studies with Maestro Farkhad Khudyev.
MAY 2022 OUTDOOR CONCERTS
Mr. Ke-Yuan Hsin
Ke-Yuan Hsin is one of the six semi-finalists in the first edition Lliria City of Music Conducting Competition. He is also the semi-finalist in the 17 Khachaturian International Conducting Competition. Ke-Yuan earned his Master of Music degree at the University of Texas at Austin. He now continues studying with Professor Farkhad Khudyev at UT for his doctoral degree in orchestral conducting. He is the winner of the Gino R. Narboni Endowed Presidential Scholarship and Vincent R. DiNino Endowed Scholarship.
Ke-Yuan has worked with the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, Lliria Symphony Orchestra, Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, and National Chinese Orchestra of Taiwan. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Soochow University, and received the Conducting Certificate at the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan Academy. Ke-Yuan participated in several international conducting masterclasses and studied with Carl St. Clair, Jerry Junkin, Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, Rodney Winther, Yan Huichang, Paul Chiang, Apo Hsu, Annie Chung, and Tsung Yeh.
Mr. Conor Brace
Conor Brace, in the fall of 2019, served as Director of Music of the Williamson County Symphony Orchestra temporarily after the resignation of the Orchestra’s founding Director of Music and long time conductor, Dr. Thomas E. Rainey. Conor directed the Orchestra in a couple of pieces in May 2015. In October of 2019 he conducted the full performance of the Orchestra. Since 2019, Conor has served as the Orchestra’s Associate Conductor conducting a piece at most performances and acting as the main backup to the principal conductor at each performance.
Conor Brace joined the Orchestra in 2013 and serves as a lead trumpeter in the Orchestra. Conor has always been fascinated by music’s ability to tell stories. Originally a jazz musician, he performed as a trumpet soloist and wrote for big bands and other groups while obtaining his Master’s Degree in Jazz Composition at the University of Texas at Austin. As he was ﬁnishing up his degree, Conor began studying traditional orchestration along with media music production. Collaborating with student ﬁlmmakers and game developers became a new obsession. It provided opportunity for combining jazz/pop sensibility with the emotive power of the orchestra.
In 2018, Conor was awarded 2nd Place in the Nation in The American Prize competition for the Performing Arts for his composition “Gettysburg”.
Mr. Jarred Kennedy
Jarred Kennedy is a Violinist and Conductor from Dallas, Texas. Jarred graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education., Jarred first taught high school orchestra in Baytown, Texas. He now serves as an assistant Orchestra Director in the Killeen Independent School District at Harker Heights High School.
During Jarred’s undergraduate studies, he served as the Concertmaster for the Orchestra of the Pines and Stephen F Austin Opera Orchestra. He also served as the Principal 2nd Violin at the Longview Symphony Orchestra. Jarred has also frequented the Round Top Summer Music Festival, serving as Concertmaster and Principal 2nd during 3 concert cycles.
Shortly after graduating, Jarred became a member of the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra in McKinney, Texas. During his time in the Houston area, he was a member of the Baytown Symphony, Assistant Concertmaster of the Galveston Symphony, and Concertmaster of the Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra. Since moving to Central Texas in 2021, he is a contracted member of the Temple Symphony, and a member of the Colour of Music Festival based out of South Carolina.
DIRECTOR OF MUSIC
Mr. John Barnes Gordon
John Gordon is an original founder of the Williamson County Symphony Orchestra in 2002. He served as Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2020. He stepped back and served as Director of Production during the 2020-21 season. He was elected Director of Music in April of 2021.
Over the 20 seasons of the Orchestra, John has been responsible for selecting and contracting for venues, positioning of the sections of the Orchestra for concerts at the venues, directing the audio and visual setups for recording the Orchestra in concert, and directing the production of the CD and DVDs. He has been an integral part in selecting the concert programs over the last twenty years.
John Gordon was first trumpet all three years in Orchestra at Charles Milby High School in Houston and studied music theory in high school and at Rice University in the 1960’s. He has played for Catholic Church for 25 years and occasionally assists the Church music ministers that he has worked with (6). John’ profession is as a Registered Professional (Electrical) Engineer in the electric utility and industrial controls sector.
John’s tasks as Director of Music is to assign conductors for each concert series, to review and approve the concert programs, to provide the sheet music for all of the Orchestra musicians, to interview and add musicians to the Orchestra, and to select the section leadership of the Orchestra.
PAST SERIES CONDUCTOR
Dr. Beau Benson
Dr. Bruce “Beau” Benson, who resides in the Waco Texas area, has extensive experience conducting Orchestras. He has served as the “Cover Conductor” for the Ft Worth Symphony. He is currently the Music Director/Conductor of the Oregon East Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Some of his past work includes Principal Director of the Metroplex Opera (Dallas), Music Director of the Texas A&M Symphony, and numerous concerts as guest conductor.
Dr Beau Benson has received a Bachelors of Music, Suma Cum Laude, in Guitar Performance and Music Education from Southern Methodist University in 2003. He received a Masters of Music in Orchestra Conducting from Southern Methodist University in 2007. And in 2010, he received a Doctorate of Musical Art in Conducting from Michigan State University. Beau has attended numerous conducting workshops including Conductors Institute of America and International Academy of Advanced Conducting.
PAST SERIES CONDUCTOR
Mr. Joshua Thompson
Joshua Thompson has been the Orchestra Director at Westwood High School since 2017. During his four years leading this storied program, the orchestra program has grown to five performing orchestras and the Symphony Orchestra has been invited to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in 2019. Previously, Joshua was the Orchestra Director at Shepton High School, in Plano, Texas. In his 13 years at Shepton, he grew the orchestra program from 79 students in 2 performing groups to 172 students in 5 performing orchestras. In 2011, the Foundation of Music Education named the Shepton Chamber Orchestra one of three National Winners in the Mark of Excellence – National Orchestra Honors Competition, despite Shepton High School being a campus of only 9th and 10th graders.
Joshua holds a Master of Music degree in Music Performance in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Kentucky (Lexington) and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Kentucky, he conducted all of the university bands, the Symphony Orchestra, and various chamber ensembles. As an undergraduate conductor, Joshua became co-director of the Dana Brass Ensemble, founded a studio orchestra devoted to the performance of film music, and guest conducted both university concert bands and the Youngstown Youth Symphony Orchestra. His final conducting appearance at Youngstown State was a highly successful, full production of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. A lifelong learner, he has recently attended several conducting workshops around the world, including the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, working with Larry Rachleff and Donald Schleicher.
As a trumpeter, Joshua was chosen to perform as part of a solo clinic at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Richmond, Virginia, where he performed the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Peter Maxwell Davies with pianist Rebecca Wilt. He was a semi-finalist at the National Trumpet Competition’s Masters Division in 1998, and was chosen as an alternate for the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida after completing graduate school. As an undergraduate, he won the Dana School of Music Concerto Competition and was the winner of the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Solo Competition in 1996.