The Texas State Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and String Orchestra have become well known throughout the state and nation as ensembles of the highest caliber. Our program is open by audition to all Texas State University students, including both music majors and qualified non-majors. The symphony orchestra is highly valued as orchestral performances reach thousands of listeners every year.
The Texas State Symphony Orchestra presents four to six concerts each school year on campus, highlighting standard repertoire from the Baroque to the Twenty-First Century. Symphony members also perform in selected opera productions, as well as in theatre and dance department collaborations. Each year, the School of Music's finest student soloists are featured with the orchestra as winners of the Student Concerto and Aria Competitions. In addition to performances on the Texas State campus, the Texas State Symphony also tours periodically at the state, national and international level.
An established conductor of international stature, Australian Carolyn Watson takes the podium as the new Director of the Texas State Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2015. Her career has already taken her from Sydney to Scotland, to Germany, Israel, Czech Republic, and in the U.S. to Aspen, Interlochen, and Detroit.
In 2008 she conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra during the Orkney Conducting Course before returning home to conduct the World Youth Day Orchestra on the occasion of the Pope's arrival in Australia. In 2010 she successfully debuted with the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and was one of four conductors selected for Interaktion with musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, also working with Sir Charles Mackerras on his final two productions in this year. In 2009, Watson spent a period at the Israeli National Opera, where she assisted on a production of Carmen. Featured in a national conductor preview with the Sydney Symphony, Watson was Assistant Conductor for the inaugural Australian World Orchestra concert season in Sydney working with Simone Young in 2011, and Associate Conductor of the Tasmania Discovery Orchestra and Assistant Chorus Master of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she studied with David Zinman, Watson was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest. She was Musical Assistant at the Staatsoper Berlin for Infektion!, a festival of modern theatre celebrating the works of John Cage.
Following a successful tenure as the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at Sydney's Conservatorium High School (Australia) from 2011-2013, she moved to the U.S. in 2013 to serve as Orchestra Director at the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy. She has been engaged as a conductor by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Watson is the recipient of a number of prestigious national and international awards for young conductors, including the 2013 Brian Stacey Award for emerging Australian conductors, the coveted Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize via the Australian Music Foundation in London, the Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award, and the Nelly Apt Conducting Scholarship. She is the beneficiary of support from the American Australian Association's Dame Joan Sutherland Fund and a Sheila Pryor Study Grant from the Australian Opera Auditions Committee. In 2013-14 she held a Dome Centenary Fellowship from the State Library of Victoria and was a 2012 Churchill Fellow. She holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney.