Byron Herrington, Music Director 2018-present
The Albuquerque Philharmonic is proud to announce the selection of our new music director, Byron Herrington. Byron was selected after a two year audition and interview process with the orchestra and board members. Mr. Herrington brings a wealth of musical knowledge and experience to his role as Music Director. He is the principle trombonist of the New Mexico Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. He has also served in various administrative capacities in both organizations. Byron holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education.
Larry Jones, Concertmaster
Wendy Cieslak, Assistant Concertmaster
Elizabeth Rivers Gregory
Mary Anne D'Arcangelis*
John Arango - English Horn
Rick Kennedy *
For over 46 years, the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra has brought musicians together with a mission to bring classical music to underserved communities in the Albuquerque area. The Philharmonic brings together accomplished musicians with a passion for classical music to play great works of art at no expense to our audience. The Albuquerque Philharmonic is for every one; all ages and socioeconomic statuses. We are committed to working with students, not only with the Art and Music concerts, but also with trios, string quartets, and wind quintets performing at local schools. We welcome you to join us at our concerts.
The “Art and Music Concerts” are all about student creativity and imagination. The artwork is inspired by images or feelings the student perceives when actively listening to the music in class. The students then create artwork from a variety of mediums, including acrylics, pastels, oils, photography, pottery, and more. At the March concerts, the artwork is projected overhead during the concert, and is also on display in the lobby at both venues,
The Art and Music concerts began in 2011 and take place annually in March. The first Art and Music concert started with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” which was written in response to the artwork of his close friend, Victor Hartmann, at Hartmann’s memorial service. Here, the students are doing the opposite, they are creating artwork to the music.
Past history of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra: The orchestra was formed by cellist Jo Kaestner in September 1972, at the suggestion of Bob Wolfe, and given the name “Albuquerque Lesser Symphony Orchestra.” The acronym “ALSO” was fitting for the fledgling community orchestra to separate if from the professional orchestra, the Albuquerque (Greater) Symphony Orchestra (which became NMSO, and is currently the NM Phil). Jo admits the name, Albuquerque Lesser Symphony Orchestra, was facetious, so in September 1977 the name was changed to the Albuquerque Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1989, the name changed to the current Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, during the tenure of music director Willy Sucre.
“An Amateur” says Jo Kaestner, “is one who cultivates a particular pursuit without pursing it professionally, one having a marked fondness for something.” The word comes from the Latin word, “to love.” John Gaston, the first conductor of ALSO, was also a violinist in the professional group, The (Greater) Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra which later morphed into the NMSO, and now is the NM Philharmonic. John was also choir director for Trinity Methodist Church at that time. Rehearsals were Mondays at 7:30 PM at the Albuquerque HS. To this day we still have Monday night rehearsals, 4 pairs of concerts, plus the annual chamber concert.
The conductors of what is now the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra are:
John Gaston conductor and music director from 1975 till Aug 76
Willy Sucre, Conductor and music director, Sept 76-June 78
Joel Rosenberg was asked by Willy Sucre to succeed him, and he conducted only one month.
Daniel Birns Nov 79
Dale Kempter Nov, Dec 79 Sept 79, March 1980,
Kay Shafer, 1980, 81
Willy Sucre Nov 81
Elaine Rafferty and Bill Swift shared the responsibility of Assistant Conductor in April 1982.
David Oberg, guest conductor during Willy’s absence starting in Jan 1983.
Willy Sucre returns in November 1985
Joel Gelpe served as music director of APO for the seven years before David Felberg took over. Joel has an impressive history, To learn more about him, click here.
David Felberg conducted APO as early as 1996, and became official Music Director from 2003 - 2018. David led the orchestra and significantly improved the quality and musicianship of the group during his 15 year tenure.
Byron Herrington September 2018 - present
The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra is supported in part by the New Mexico Arts, Art Works, and the Albuquerque Community Foundation.