Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor is one of the most compelling performers of her generation. She is internationally acclaimed equally in the pillars of the classical music canon – from Beethoven and Mahler to Brahms and Ravel –as she is in new works of modern masters – from Adams and Dessner to Lieberson and Talbot.
In the 2020-21 season Kelley O’Connor was engaged to perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, California Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra among many others.
Highlights of last season featured Mozart’s Requiem with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Stéphane Denève, a program of Berio and Crumb with the New York Philharmonic, and Korngold’s Abschiedslieder with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She was engaged for performances with the symphonies of Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Saint Louis, San Diego, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, and with the San Francisco Symphony for Michael Tilson Thomas’ final concerts as Music Director.
Sir Donald Runnicles is Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In 2019 Maestro Runnicles also took up post as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s first ever Principal Guest Conductor. Additionally, he holds the title of Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, having served as Chief Conductor from 2009–16.
Highlights of the 2019–20 season included return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony; a premiere of Das Rheingold with the Deutsche Oper as part of an ambitious new Ring Cycle stretching into 2021; and a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that continues Maestro Runnicles’ Britten cycle at the DOB. He also brings the DOB company to the Edinburgh Festival this summer in a performance of Manon Lescaut.
Maestro Runnicles enjoys close and enduring relationships with many of the most significant opera companies and symphony orchestras. His previous posts include Music Director of the San Francisco Opera (1992–2008), Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (2001–07), and General Music Director of the Theater Freiburg and Orchestra (1989–93).
Recognized for his dynamic presence, insightful interpretations, versatility, and commanding technique, Taiwanese-American conductor Jerry Hou was recently appointed Associate Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Teatro Colon, Rochester Philharmonic, and San Antonio Symphony, among others.
In the summer of 2018, Hou lead to much acclaim the opening concerts of the Grand Teton Music Festival, in a program of Copland, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto with renowned soloist Daniil Trifonov. Known for his flexibility in many styles and genres, he has conducted a wide range of repertoire from classical to contemporary. Last spring, Hou led performances of a new collaboration between composer Steve Reich and artist Gerhart Richter to commemorate the opening of New York City’s new performing arts space and center for artistic invention, The Shed. He is on the faculty of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas.
David Coucheron joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster in September 2010. At the time, he was the youngest concertmaster among any major U.S. orchestra.
Throughout his career, Coucheron has worked with conductors Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Simon Rattle, Mstislav Rostropovich and Charles Dutoit, among others. He has performed as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.
Coucheron has given solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Olympic Winter Games (Salt Lake City, Utah), as well as in Beograd, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Serbia, Singapore and Shanghai. His chamber music performances have included appearances at Suntory Hall as well as Wigmore Hall and Alice Tully Hall. Coucheron serves as the Artistic Director for the Kon Tiki Chamber Music Festival in his hometown of Oslo, Norway. He is also on the artist-faculty for the Aspen Music Festival and Brevard Music Festival.
Paul Murphy is the Associate Principal Viola with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, having held that position since 1986. Previously he held principal positions with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Caracas (Venezuela) Philharmonic, and was a regular player with the St. Louis Symphony. He has also performed as Guest Principal for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Murphy is a native of Pensacola, Florida, where he studied with the renowned Anna Tringas. He later graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music where his principal teachers were David Cerone and Robert Vernon. During college, he also served as an assistant teacher at the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music.
Daniel Laufer began his orchestral career with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1989 under Music Director Eduardo Mata. Since the fall of 1991, Mr. Laufer has been the Associate Principal Cellist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Laufer has recorded under the Koss label the Double Cello Concerto for two cellos by David Ott with his father, Wolfgang Laufer, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Laufer has been a soloist with a number of orchestras including the Atlanta and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. A regular chamber music performer, Mr. Laufer has performed at many festivals such as the prestigious Pablo Casals Festival in Prades, France, the Barge Chamber Music Series in New York, the Kfar Blum Chamber Music Festival in Israel, the Amalfi Coast Festival in Italy, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. He has collaborated in chamber music with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sadao Harada, Robert Spano, Donald Runnicles, Alan Gilbert, James Ehnes, Pinchas Zukerman, and the Fine Arts Quartet. Since 2012, Mr. Laufer has enjoyed being associated with the Grand Teton Music Festival as one of the Principal Cellists under Maestro Donald Runnicles. Outside of his duties as a musician with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Laufer is President of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association and has served in this capacity since 2006 with the exception of the 2013 season and serving as Vice President for the 2014 season.
Joseph McFadden joined the bass section of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in September 2011 and won the Principal Bass position in 2017. Prior to his arrival at the ASO, he was Principal Bass of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Mr. McFadden has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Nashville Symphony. During his time with the Alabama Symphony, Mr. McFadden performed Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2 as a featured soloist. During the summer he is a member of the Orchestra for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Mr. McFadden performs chamber music regularly with the Riverside Chamber Players here in Atlanta and has also performed with the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival.
Christina Smith is one of the most sought-after flutists in the country as an orchestral player, soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. This is her 26th season as principal flutist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and her flute solos can be heard on 40 ASO recordings. She has also appeared with the orchestra numerous times as concerto soloist. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, she studied at the Curtis Institute of Music as a pupil of the legendary Julius Baker. Ms. Smith has also studied with Jeffrey Khaner, Tim Day, and Keith Underwood. Ms. Smith has recently appeared as guest principal flutist with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Vancouver, Baltimore, St. Paul, and Pittsburgh. Equally passionate about teaching and performing, Ms. Smith serves on the faculty at Kennesaw State University and Emory University. She remains highly in demand to teach master classes across the country.
Elisabeth Remy Johnson was appointed principal harpist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1995. She holds the endowed Carl and Sally Gable Chair, and also held the honorary UPS Community Service Chair for 2006-07. With the Atlanta Symphony, Elisabeth has performed concertos by Debussy, Handel, Mozart and Ginastera. Winner of first-place awards in competitions of the American Harp Society and the American String Teachers Association, she is also a NFAA/ARTS awardee. She graduated from Harvard University Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in Music and French. Her harp studies were with Ann Hobson Pilot in Boston and Alice Chalifoux at the Salzedo Summer Harp Colony in Camden, Maine. Elisabeth is co-founder of the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble, a program serving 55 students from 7 schools in the Atlanta Public School system, and was artistic director from 2000 to 2010. For this work she received Atlanta’s Channel Eleven Community Service Award and the TBS Pathfinder’s Award.
Michael Stubbart has served as Section Percussion with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since the 2017-18 season. Before coming to Atlanta, he was Acting Principal Percussion with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu for two years. As a freelance percussionist, Stubbart has performed with the Houston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Breckenridge Music Festival, among others. He has also been actively playing timpani including freelance work with the Blossom Festival Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, and Erie Philharmonic.
Richard Brown enjoys a multi- faceted career as a professional musician, an educator and a businessman. He is now Professor Emeritus at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He is Principal Percussionist and orchestra personnel manager of both The Houston Grand Opera and Jackson Hole’s Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestras. At the GTMF he is also the Artistic Advisor. He leads the Richard Brown Orchestra, one of Houston’s most popular dance bands that play large social galas, special events and weddings.
Richard began his musical career at the age of 18 playing with The Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Lyric Opera. After his stint with The United States Army Band in Washington DC, he moved to Houston to join The Houston Symphony, a position he held for eight years. To pursue another facet of his musical interests, he then moved to New York City as a freelance percussionist working on Broadway playing shows such as West Side Story, Showboat and Shirley MacLaine, as well as working in the recording studios and subbing with The Metropolitan Opera and The New York Philharmonic. During this time, he also began working for Ann Margret performing with her for 15 years in all her live shows, both in Las Vegas and on tour.