About

Conductors


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brian @ civicsymphony.org

Brian Runnels has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony since 2006. He first conducted the Houston Civic Symphony in 1979 when he served as Apprentice Conductor with the orchestra under Robert Linder. Since that time, he has conducted orchestras, musical theatre, oratorio, and opera in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, and Kentucky. After earning a degree in music education at Houston Baptist University he went on to earn a masters degree in church music and choral conducting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestra conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has had additional conducting training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and in the United States with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt.

He is currently Director of Orchestras at George Bush High School in the Fort Bend Independent School District. Prior to that he was Professor of Music at Houston Baptist University after serving several years as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He has held teaching positions at Bemidji State University in Minnesota and Murray State University in Kentucky. In addition to conducting the orchestras, he served both institutions as department chair in music. While serving as Interim Director of Orchestras at UMKC he conducted the premiere performances of Duse and D’Annunzio, an opera by faculty composer Gerald Kemner. He has held conducting positions with the Houston Youth Symphony and the Kansas City Civic Symphony. He remains active in church music, and is part-time minister of music at First Baptist Church in Rosenberg, TX.

In the fall of 2007 he was named Music Director of the acclaimed Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston. Since its founding in 1952, G&S of Houston has established a reputation as an internationally recognized amateur G&S opera company. In September 2010, he debuted as conductor with Houston’s Opera in the Heights, conducting critically acclaimed performances of The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach.

In addition to his conducting and teaching activities, he has been a presenter at numerous conferences including the National Association of Schools of Music Annual Meeting, the National Convention for Technology Institute in Music Education, Texas Music Educators Association, Kentucky Music Educators Association, Minnesota Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, Southeastern Music Education Symposium, and the Annual Conference for Academic Chairpersons sponsored by Kansas State University. His work has been published in several journals including the Journal of Music Teacher Education, National Issues in Higher Education, and Southeastern Journal of Music Education.

He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of several organizations including the Kentucky Music Educators Association, Murray Civic Music Association, Minnesota Society of Music Education, Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education, and the Kansas City Civic Orchestra.

He served as Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Deans of Liberal Arts and Sciences and President of the Kentucky Association of College Music Departments as well as several elected offices in the Minnesota Council of University and College Musicians. For Region 8 of the National Association of Schools of Music he served as Vice-Chair and as Secretary.


michael @ civicsymphony.org

Michael Alan Isadore came to Houston after graduating with Masters Degrees in conducting and clarinet performance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Conservatory of Music. Since moving to Houston, Isadore has built an important career teaching and conducting while maintaining his recognized performance ability on the clarinet. As a conductor, Isadore was appointed the Associate Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony starting with the 2007 season, was guest conductor of the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra in 2003, The Civic Symphony of Houston in 2004 and the Houston Sinfonietta on two occasions in 2004 and 2005. Recently, Isadore joined the staff of the Houston Youth Symphony as one of their conductors. Isadore has been director of the Dulles High School Orchestra since 1999. Under his leadership, the Dulles Orchestra was chosen to play at the Midwest Convention in Chicago in December 2004 and was chosen as the Runner up for TMEA Honor Orchestra in 2005.

Isadore has appeared at many conducting workshops, most recently the Rose City International Conducting Workshop and has studied with Kenneth Keisler, Dan Lewis, Harold Farberman, Christopher Zimmerman, David Hoose, Kenneth Woods, Stephen Heyde, Michael Haithcock, and Gary Hill. Prior to moving to Houston, Isadore served as Assistant Director/Conductor of the new music ensemble, Musica Nova at UMKC.

Through his work with Musica Nova and subsequent association with Minnesota composer Libby Larsen, Ms. Larsen agreed to compose a trio for Isadore, which was funded by a consortium of chamber ensembles, flutists and clarinetists. The Flute and Clarinet Duos Commissioning Consortium, has continued their efforts to expand the literature for Flute, Clarinet and Piano with completed projects by composers Derek Bermel and Valerie Coleman. FCDC was founded by Isadore along with Leone Buyse and Michael Webster of Rice University, both members of the acclaimed Webster Trio. Isadore continues to serve on the board. Isadore and his wife Jennifer premiered the Valerie Coleman composition, “Portraits of Langston”, at the National Flute Association’s Convention in Albuquerque, NM in 2007.

As an accomplished clarinetist, Isadore has appeared as a soloist with many of the Houston area orchestras. In February of 2003, Michael was the featured soloist with the Fort Bend Symphony playing Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2 and in 2005 was soloist with Houston Sinfonietta and in 2006 with the Houston Civic Symphony. He has also soloed alongside his father, David Isadore with The Valley Symphony Orchestra in Edinburgh, Texas. He performs regularly as auxiliary/third clarinet with The Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, and has performed six summers with the Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston. Isadore continues studies on clarinet with Thomas LeGrand, Assistant Principal Clarinet of the Houston Symphony. Isadore received his undergraduate degree in music education from Baylor University, and while attending Masters Studies at UMKC, met his wife Jennifer who is the Principal Flutist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas. They reside in Sugar Land with three cats, a retired greyhound, a bunny and a hedgehog named fluffy.

Board of Directors


Alvin Thomas | President

Houston Civic Symphony Experience:
President, 2007 – Present ; Vice President, 2006-07; Treasurer, 2004-06; Assistant Treasurer, 2003-04

Musical Background:
I began playing violin at age 11, and viola at age 12. I had a viola scholarship at the University of Oklahoma, and played in the University Orchestra my freshman and sophomore years, leaving the orchestra when it became clear that it was impossible to play in the orchestra and be a varsity swimmer at the same time.


Jennifer Isadore | Vice President

Jennifer Isadore received her Bachelor of Music in flute performance from DePaul University and her Master of Music in flute performance from The University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music (U.M.K.C.). She has been the principal flute for the Houston Civic Symphony since 2002 and the principal flute of The Symphony of Southeast Texas since 2004. Jennifer has soloed with the Houston Civic Symphony on two occasions. In 2004 she performed J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in b minor, BWV 1067. In January 2011, she performed as winner of the first annual Houston Civic Symphony Members Concerto Competition, playing Lowell Liebermann’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Jennifer will perform this same piece again with the Symphony of Southeast Texas in October 2011. Outside of orchestral playing, Jennifer maintains a small flute studio in her home and serves as the adjunct faculty member in flute at Lamar University in Beaumont.


Graciela Moore | Secretary

Graciela Lake Moore began her musical career at age four when her mother enrolled her in group piano lessons. Graciela continued piano and also fell in love with the cello. As a high school sophomore, she was privileged to audition for the Midland Odessa Symphony and played with them through her senior year. She studied piano with Shari Santorelli of the Midland Odessa Symphony and cello with Brant Taylor, now a cellist with the Chicago Symphony. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Geology from Texas A&M University while teaching private cello lessons and performing with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. After moving to Houston, she played with the Houston Sinfonetta and later joined the Houston Civic Symphony in 2005. As a cellist she has had the opportunity to perform for Former President George Bush Sr. and to perform on stage with Gloria Estefan and opera singer Ana Maria Martinez. Graciela and her husband have one daughter, who has attended every concert since she was born (and many rehearsals before that…). She has served on the Music Selection Committee and became a member of the Board during the 2015-2016 concert season.


Susanna Campbell | Director

Susanna Campbell became principal harpist with the Houston Civic Symphony in 2006 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016. She holds a Master’s Degree in Harp Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University and is a passionate and experienced music educator and performer. Recent concert highlights include the world premiere of Gary Schocker’s Heaven’s Above for the American Harp Society’s National Conference in Atlanta, GA and the debut concert of AURORA – a harp, flute, and cello ensemble embracing classical repertoire while championing contemporary music by emerging composers. In addition to performing, Susanna maintains a private harp and piano studio and is adjunct faculty at Lone Star College.


Beth Dean | Treasurer

I work at Renewing Hope Counseling as a psychotherapist. I’ve been an at home mom the past 15 years ( after working in private practice as a psychotherapist for 8 years) and have just resumed my professional career. I play violin, and have played with the Houston civic for 13 years. I garden in my spare time, and my husband -Bill Dean plays in the civic also (cello). We have three wonderful children, the youngest is 16. All three girls play either cello or violin.


Dixie Addington | Director

Dixie Addington joined the HCS 1st Violin section in 2014 following a career in music education as an Orchestra Director. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has Suzuki Violin Teaching Certification. When not involved in her music endeavors, she volunteers at the Wildlife Center of Texas, quilts, and travels with her family.


Tim Maynard | Director

Tim is Director of Orchestras at Yes Prep School in Houston. An active percussionist, he received his bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University in 2000 and his masters in applied music from the University of Houston in 2005. Tim has served on the faculties at the University of Houston and recently served as interim director of percussion studies at Sam Houston State University.



Brian Runnels
| Music Director & Conductor
brian @ civicsymphony.org

Dr. Brian Runnels first conducted the Houston Civic Symphony in 1979 when he served as Apprentice Conductor with the orchestra under Robert Linder. Since that time, he has conducted orchestras, musical theatre, oratorio, and opera in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, and Kentucky. He returned to Houston in 2005 to serve as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Houston Baptist University. After earning a degree in music education at that institution he went on to earn a masters degree in church music and choral conducting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestra conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has had additional conducting training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and in the United States with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt. He has held teaching positions at Bemidji State University in Minnesota and Murray State University in Kentucky.



Michael Isadore
| Associate Conductor
michael @ civicsymphony.org

Michael Alan Isadore came to Houston after graduating with Masters Degrees in conducting and clarinet performance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Conservatory of Music. Since moving to Houston, Isadore has built an important career teaching and conducting while maintaining his recognized performance ability on the clarinet. As a conductor, Isadore was appointed the Associate Conductor of the Houston Civic Symphony starting with the 2007 season, was guest conductor of the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra in 2003, The Civic Symphony of Houston in 2004 and the Houston Sinfonietta on two occasions in 2004 and 2005. Recently, Isadore joined the staff of the Houston Youth Symphony as one of their conductors. Isadore has been director of the Dulles High School Orchestra since 1999. Under his leadership, the Dulles Orchestra was chosen to play at the Midwest Convention in Chicago in December 2004 and was chosen as the Runner up for TMEA Honor Orchestra in 2005.


Musicians


Violin I
Chris Bojarczuk, Concertmaster
Dixie Addington
Brett Busby
Gene Fong
Janice Frillman
Monica Hanna
McAdams Irubar
Peter Lee
Barbra Munisteri
Joe Munisteri
Karmelo Navalta
Laura Ruiz
Stacy Tsang
Michael Weeks
Jingxia Yu

Violin II
Vacant, Principal
Anne Ahrens
Jose Camacho
Roxy Cheatham
Beth Dean
Calvin Dotsey
Sarah Beth Egle
Martin Kastenbaum
Patrick Kim
Sally Kirk
Rachel Koppe
Dea Larson
Duncan Monserud
Haley Poradun
Yvonne Rivera
Josh Robbins
Lawrence Rushdi
Dionni Stone
Sarayu Sundar
Fei Xie

Viola
John Snyder, Principal
Rebecca Cardone
Joe Chen
Jonathan Griffin
Mei-Le Laracuente
Cheryl Pfennig
David Roberts
Carolyn Sacchi
Thomas Strauch
Isabelle Thirouin
Laura Turchi
Arshunda Washington
Oscar Wehmanen

Cello
Francisco Diaz, Principal
Doris Maynard, Assistant Principal
Wendy Buskop
Bill Dean
Jes Hagale
Monica Lundeen
Graciela Lake Moore
Melissa Meyer
Natalie Phillips-Perkoff
Consuelo Ruiz
Susan Wegner

String Bass
Dan Witschey, Principal
Jeremy Dudman, Assistant Principal
Arnold Garza
Chris Grimes
Julia Keller
Chris Kuether
Brian Sayre
Jun Teruya
Harry Zhu

Flute
Jennifer Isadore, Principal
Alicia Harris

Piccolo/Flute
Lilia Agard

Oboe
Bruce Leon, Principal
Arlene Howell

English Horn
Andy Hamilton

Clarinet
Joe Dombrowski, Principal
Morgan Fargo

Bass Clarinet
Martin Andrada

Bassoon
Derek MacLeay, Principal
Jason Stephens

Contrabassoon
Ron Vachon

Horn
Kristen Bennett
Mitch Gross
Kathy Hannah
Colin Jenkins
Richard Wheatley

Trumpet
Neil McDaniel, Principal
Eric Ward
Justin Langham

Trombone
Mark Andrews, Principal
Ken Henderson
Jordan Stephens

Tuba
Steven Rodriguez

Timpani
John Rice

Percussion
Kathy Beck
Scott Fairdosi
Roger French
Russell Lloyd
Kevin McBeth
Sherrie Throckmorton

Harp
Susanna Campbell, Principal
Megan Schuh

Piano
Mary Peterson

How to Join

The Houston Civic Symphony holds auditions for orchestra musicians in August each year. All members of Houston Civic Symphony are volunteers. As a general rule, auditioning string players who meet the standards of the orchestra will be invited to join. Invitations to join other sections will depend on vacancies. All qualified players in all sections are invited to audition, as substitute players are often invited to perform with the orchestra on a concert by concert basis. In addition, the Symphony is eager to involve qualifying musicians in its Chamber Music program.

The orchestra typically performs five concerts each season. Rehearsals are held on the campus of Houston Baptist University campus on Monday evenings from 7:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Audition Form

Click the button below to indicate your interest and to receive information on how to audition for the Houston Civic Symphony.
Audition excerpts may be obtained at this link.

Audition Form

FAQs

The Houston Civic Symphony is always looking for strong musicians to join. Qualified string players have a good chance to be invited to join, and while competition is greater in the brass and woodwinds, qualified players are placed on a substitutes list, and often invited to play one or more concerts in a season. Even if a position is currently filled musicians are invited to audition for the substitute list. Guest artists are also invited to audition. We offer a wonderful opportunity for musicians, professional or non-professional to play great symphonic music together. Please look on the Home page, or under the auditions tab for additional information.
Houston Civic Symphony has a diverse membership. Attorneys, bankers, university professors, college students, information systems professionals, petroleum engineers, judges, children’s nannies, homemakers, medical technicians and music educators all come together to make up the Houston Civic Symphony.
We have a couple of members who have played with Houston Civic Symphony since its founding in 1967, many who were not born in 1967, and all love playing great music together.
We play all types of orchestral music from Baroque to Modern, the standard works to the “lesser known” ones. At the first 2007 concert, we played some show and movie tunes; at the second concert, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. During the 2008-09 season, we again started the season with lighter fare, including “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, and the Overture from William Tell, and concluded the season with Symphony No. 9 by Beethoven. You can always count on a good variety. In the past few years, the Orchestra backed Mariachi Vargas, one of the best known mariachi groups in Mexico, at a concert with 6,000 screaming fans, and selected members were on stage for the Selena tribute held at Reliant Stadium, with an audience of more than 70,000 on hand, and millions more watching the world-wide telecast.
We rehearse on Monday evenings from 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm. Typically we have 6 rehearsals for each concert. Rehearsals begin in late August and continue to late April or early May, depending on the concert schedule. We typically play concerts in October, November, January, March, and late April or early May.
Most rehearsals and concerts are held in the Dunham Theater in the Morris Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Houston Baptist University, just south of Southwest Freeway at Fondren.