4th Annual KSU Orchestra Invitational
Thursday and Friday, November 1-2, 2018
First held in 2015, the Kennesaw State University Orchestra Invitational is a unique event offering high school and middle school orchestras the opportunity to experience performing in one of the finest acoustical concerts halls in Georgia – Morgan Concert Hall at Kennesaw State University – and receive assessment-based feedback from a nationally-recognized guest clinician and KSU faculty. This non-competitive format enhances the educational experience for students and directors. In addition, each ensemble receives a professional quality audio and video recordings of their performance.
Friday, September 28, 2018
How to Apply
The KSU Orchestra Invitational is open to high school and advancing middle school orchestras. Applications are submitted entirely online. For the application, you will need to provide your contact information and two recent performance recordings. These two selections should be live and unedited and vary in musical style.
All accepted ensembles are asked to pay a $300 ensemble participation fee, due one month prior to your performance. This fee covers the costs of our guest clinicians and the costs associated with performing in the Bailey Performance Center.
Please click on the link below to apply to perform at the 4th Annual KSU Orchestra Invitational to be held on Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2, 2018. Applications will be reviewed upon submission and schools will be notified once accepted.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Your performance experience will include:
- Rehearsal and warm-up time in Scott Rehearsal Hall (in the Bailey Center adjacent to the performance stage)
- Performance on stage in Morgan Concert Hall in the Bailey Performance Center.
- Clinic with nationally-recognized guest clinician immediately following performance.
- Assessments of your ensemble by guest clinician and KSU faculty via audio caption and written feedback.
- "Conductor Cam" video recording.
- High-quality audio and video recordings of the performance.
In addition, your group can listen to live performances mid-day from the KSU Symphony Orchestra and have opportunities to hear other high school orchestras from around the region.
Mr. Scott Laird
Fine Arts Coordinator and Instructor of Music
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Recognized string pedagogue and conductor, Scott Laird, serves on the faculty of The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics where he is Fine Arts Coordinator and Instructor of Music. Noted for his innovative approach to ensemble development and musicianship, Laird is a frequent conductor of honor orchestras, appears annually at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp and is a sought-after conference presenter. He regularly performs on acoustic and electric violin and is known for his abilities in both the classical and improvisatory arena. Laird was the recipient of the 2017 ASTA Elizabeth A. H. Green Award, the North Carolina Symphony’s 2016 Maxine Swalin Award and the 2015 NCSSM Excellence in Teaching Award. He has served as President of the NC Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, Chair of the NCMEA Orchestra Section and maintains a presence as a national leader in string education. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors for KidZNotes, an El Sistema USA program in Durham, NC and remains strongly involved in the organization. He earned his B.S. in Music Education and his M.A. in Violin Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he studied violin with Prof. Delight Malitsky. He earned his National Board Certification in 2004 and recertified in 2013. His blog, “Thoughts of a String Educator,” enjoys broad readership in the music education community. In addition, Laird serves as a sponsored artist and educational specialist for D’Addario Bowed Strings, Coda Bows, and NS Design Electric Violins.
Dr. Nathaniel Parker
Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music
A talented and versatile musician, Nathaniel F. Parker has conducted orchestras in the United States, Peru, Russia, Poland, England, and the Czech Republic. Equally at home working with professionals and training future generations of musicians, Dr. Parker is Director of Orchestral Studies at the Kennesaw State University School of Music—serving as Music Director and Conductor of the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra and Conductor of the Kennesaw State University Opera Program—Associate Conductor of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director and Conductor of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO). His recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) All-State Orchestra, the Fulton County High School Honor Orchestra (Georgia), and the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) District 9 High School Honor Orchestra. Dr. Parker is the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and scholarships. He was named a finalist for a Conducting Fellowship with the New World Symphony, a semi-finalist for a Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood, and a Candidate for the Respighi Prize in Conducting; he also received a Citation of Excellence in Teaching from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. An active scholar, Dr. Parker’s writings have been published by the Conductors Guild and the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA). He has presented research at the College Orchestra Directors Association’s national and international conferences and is Editor of the Journal of the Conductors Guild.
Dr. Parker has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Concert Orchestra and faculty at New England Music Camp (Maine), and Interim Music Director and Conductor of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Camerata. Before relocating to Georgia, he was Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Marywood University (Pennsylvania) where he was Music Director and Conductor of the Marywood University Orchestra and taught courses in conducting, instrumental methods, musicology, and analytical techniques. Other previous positions include Associate Conductor and Production Manager of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), Music Director and Conductor of the Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra, Director of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Community Music School, Graduate Conducting Intern at Michigan State University, Music Director and Conductor of the Mason Orchestral Society’s Community Orchestra and Youth Symphony (Michigan), Assistant Director of Music at Xaverian High School (New York), Conductor of the New Music Festival of Sandusky Orchestra (Ohio), and Graduate Assistant Conductor and Teaching Assistant at Bowling Green State University (Ohio).
Parker earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University, where his primary instructors were Leon Gregorian and Raphael Jiménez. During his time at MSU he regularly appeared with all the university orchestras and focused his doctoral research on Leonard Bernstein, specifically the composer’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety.” He earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Emily Freeman Brown. His other conducting mentors include Stephen Osmond, Gary W. Hill, and Timothy Russell. In addition to his training in academia, Dr. Parker participated in numerous conducting master classes and workshops, conducting orchestras under the tutelage of nationally and internationally renowned conductors and conducting pedagogues including Christoph Eschenbach, George Hurst, Arthur Fagen, Markand Thakar, Mark Gibson, David Itkin, and Paul Vermel. Parker began his collegiate education at Arizona State University, where he studied bassoon with Jeffrey G. Lyman and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance.
Nat resides in Kennesaw with his wife, Melody, and their son, Jacob.
Dr. Nancy Conley
Assistant Professor of String Music Education
Nancy Conley is the Assistant Professor of String Music Education at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches coursework in string techniques, pedagogy, and literature. In addition, Dr. Conley supervises student teachers, leads the KSU String Project, and conducts the KSU Philharmonic. She also serves as the faculty advisor to the KSU collegiate chapter of ASTA.
Dr. Conley received the Ph.D. in music education with a viola performance cognate from Michigan State University, the M.M. in performance from Binghamton University, and the B.M. in music education and performance from Ithaca College. Before pursuing her doctoral degree, Dr. Conley was a public school music educator in central New York, where she taught elementary, middle, and high school instrumental music for seventeen years. An active performer while teaching, Dr. Conley played with the Binghamton Philharmonic, Tri-Cities Opera Company, and the Edgewood String Quartet. As a doctoral student, she performed with the Lansing (MI) Symphony, and was a member of the Orchestra of Northern New York in Potsdam while teaching at the Crane School of Music. She currently plays with string quartets in the Atlanta area.
Prior to joining the faculty at KSU, Dr. Conley was the Director of Music Education at Clayton State University, where she coordinated the music education program, taught courses in music and music education, supervised student teachers, and was an instructor of applied violin and viola. Dr. Conley also served as faculty advisor for the collegiate NAfME chapter and co-directed the Clayton County Honor Orchestra.
Before moving to Georgia, Dr. Conley taught at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where she taught string technique and pedagogy classes and directed the National String Project. While at Crane, Dr. Conley developed a Musician Wellness course and the Lab Ensemble, a course that encouraged pre-service music teachers to use improvisation, arranging, and composition in the classroom.
Dr. Conley has taught in various summer music programs, including several years at the New York ASTA String Institute at Ithaca College. She has conducted Senior High Area All-State festivals in New York State, and served as a clinician at other school music festivals. Dr. Conley is a frequent clinician in Atlanta-area schools.
Dr. Conley has presented at state, regional, and national conferences. Her research interests include the use of improvisation as a tool for teaching and life-long learning, music teacher education, and musician wellness. She holds the certification for Music Learning Theory Elementary General Music Level One, and has completed teacher training for Suzuki Violin Level One and Two.
ContactFor more information, contact:
Dr. Nathaniel Parker
Testimonial from a Director
"I wanted to send a quick thank you for accepting our group to play at KSU this past weekend. This past weekend is one that I will never forget and I know that my students feel the same. Being afforded the opportunity to come to visit the KSU campus, play in that wonderful hall and to receive the feedback we received is truly a blessing and will help our group as we prepare for the next event, whatever it may be. The professionalism of all that were involved from being met as we arrived until we left for the trip home was outstanding. The students did a great job of making sure we were well-taken care of and the facilities were outstanding."