Musicians – Conductor

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Neil Casey
violin, conductor

Neil Casey - violin, conductor

An active violinist, Neil often serves as Concertmaster with the Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society. He is a member of the Excelsior Trio, which placed third in the nation at the MTNA Collegiate Chamber Music Competition. Neil was Concertmaster and soloist for the premiere performance of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra in 2010. He served as Associate Concertmaster of the Augusta Symphony for many years and performed as guest concertmaster for the South Carolina Philharmonic and Savannah Sinfonietta.

Neil is Assistant Director of orchestras at the University of South Carolina, as well as the conductor of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia. At USC, he teaches conducting, violin, chamber music, conducts Opera at USC and the USC Campus Orchestra. His numerous conducting opportunities range from a post as Assistant Conductor of the Augusta Symphony, across the USA as guest conductor for orchestras such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Richmond Symphony (in his native state of Virginia), and to international acclaim as guest conductor Karelian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petrazovodsk, Russia). He was the founding conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras and Resident Conductor of the Shenandoah Performing Arts Camp.

Neil earned both his B.A. in music education and violin performance, and his M.M. in orchestral conducting from the University of South Carolina.

Richard Cook
conductor, tenor

Richard Cook, conductor, tenor

Richard is the Director of Music at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, GA, serves as Resident Conductor of the Augusta Opera, and is Music Director of the NOVUS Chamber Orchestra in Winston-Salem, NC.

Richard has served as Resident Conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra in Winston-Salem, and for 17 seasons as Artistic Director of the North State Chorale. He has also served as assistant conductor for both Piedmont Opera Theatre and the Greensboro Opera Company. Richard’s many conducting opportunities have taken him to Romania (Baccau Philharmonic), to Missouri (St. Louis Symphony Chorus), to the NY City based Gregg Smith Singers, as well as throughout North Carolina on the podiums for various professional, college and youth orchestras. Richard has taught on the faculties of Elon University, High Point University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A native North Carolinian, Richard earned a BA from Pfeiffer University, an MM in opera from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a DMA in orchestral conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Diploma in orchestral conducting from the University of Catania, Sicily.

In addition to his conducting activities, Dr. Cook has appeared as a tenor soloist in opera and oratorio performances in the United States and Europe, most recently performing with Carolina Baroque. He resides in Augusta with his wife, Carol, and their son, John.

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