Art & Culture
Conroe Symphony Orchestra Welcomes First Female Conductor
CONROE, TX – The Conroe Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors officially welcomed the orchestra’s first female conductor at a small reception Tuesday, March 16 at the Conroe Symphony Centre. Board of Directors Chair, The Honorable Kathleen Hamilton announced that Anna-Maria Gkouni, from Athens, Greece takes the reigns as the Symphony’s new Conductor and Music Director. Gkouni is set to lead the all-volunteer Symphony in its 24th Season, which hopes to begin performing again this summer.
Anna-Maria Gkouni is a Greek orchestral conductor, pianist, and piano instructor. Her musical interests cover a span of genres, from classical to jazz and traditional music to more electronic and progressive sounds. A native of Athens, she holds a piano performance and a music theory degree from Philippos Nakas Conservatory. After graduating with her BA from Ionian University in Corfu, a Greek island, Gkouni moved to Nebraska to pursue her MA in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and currently she is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Houston.
Gkouni has attended masterclasses with international pianists and conductors, such as pianist Lucas Debargue and the conductor of Boston Pops, Keith Lockhart. Among her awards are the Schissler Foundation Fellowship, the University of Houston Graduate Tuition Fellowship, and the Hellenic Professional Society of Texas Award. Professor Franz Anton Krager has said “Anna Maria is a natural talent.” He continued, “As a young and aspiring conductor, I would place Anna Maria Gkouni in the top 1% of her peers!”
“To lead the Conroe Symphony Orchestra is a dream come true,” remarked Gkouni. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to conduct this exceptionally talented group of musicians. My greatest aspiration for the future is to create innovative shows that will combine multiple forms of art such as theater, which is my second passion. We are all very much looking forward to bringing music back to the city of Conroe.”
Dr. Don Hutson, who led the search for the new conductor, and served as the Music Director for 13 years said of Gkouni, “she’s precisely the fresh new talent that is needed to take the Conroe Symphony Orchestra in a bold new direction. As Board members our desire is to create experiential new works of art that help expand the reach of the orchestra. I believe that Anna-Maria will take us there,” Hutson concluded.
The Conroe Symphony Orchestra has not yet announced its first performance date but is hopeful that it will be sometime this summer. For information and concert dates visit conroesymphony.org or follow the CSO on Facebook @ConroeSymphonyOrchestra.
The Conroe Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1997. Since its inception, the Symphony has continued under the baton of several fine musicians including Dr. Robert Zwick, Dr. Don Hutson, Dr. Jacob Sustaita and now continues under the direction of Ms. Anna-Maria Gkouni. The Conroe Symphony Orchestra was created to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the community, assuring a better quality of life for the Conroe area. Its objective is to provide the region with the best possible musical experience, while creating music lovers and connecting community.