Artistic & Administrative Staff


Susan Stensland, Executive Director

Emily Hindes, Operations Manager

Zac Evans, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Georgia Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors


Artistic Leadership

Timothy Verville, Robert W. Hagan Family Foundation Music Director and Conductor

Bryan Black, Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus Director

Sam Skelton, GSO Jazz! Director

Dr. Nathaniel Parker, Associate Conductor

Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra

Timothy Verville, Symphony Ensemble Director

Dr. Eric Hawk, Philharmonia Ensemble Director

Dr. Nathaniel Parker, Camerata Ensemble Director

Whitney Tinley, Sinfonia Ensemble Director

John Lawless, Percussion Ensemble Director

Sam Skelton, Jazz Ensemble Director

Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra/Kennesaw State University interns

Aldo Cardenas
David Metrio
Michael Opitz
Selena Sanchez

Timothy Verville

Robert W. Hagan Family Foundation Music Director and Conductor

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An award winner in the American Prize for Orchestral Performance, Conductor Timothy Verville’s enriching and dynamic performances in the U.S. and abroad create rewarding musical experiences. His visionary orchestral leadership is hailed as altering the landscape of classical music. From engaging traditional performances to injecting new and exciting ideas into the concert hall, he has connected with a greater portion of the community by reinvigorating traditional audiences and attracting new listeners to concerts. Lauded by reviewers as “innovative” and “a dazzling musical experience,” Verville’s performances have included a unique and distinctive approach to musical programing, collaborations with visual artists, silent films, actors, dancers, interactive computer visualizations, and more.

This year marks his inaugural season as the Robert W. Hagan Family Foundation Music Director and Conductor of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Chamber Orchestra and Arizona Pro Arte. Previously he has served as Music Director of the North Valley Chamber Orchestra, Fine Arts Orchestra, Scottsdale Baroque Orchestra, Arizona Pro Arte, and at Idyllwild Arts. He was also Associate Conductor of the Boston Chamber Orchestra and Conductor of the Pollard Theatre. Recent international guest conducting includes the Kyushu International Festival, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kyushu Philharmonic Orchestra, Chikushi Jogakuen Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Fukuoka University Orchestra. U.S. appearances include the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Signature Symphony, and Richmond Symphony Orchestra.

Committed to sharing great new music, Verville routinely commissions and conducts regional, national, and world premieres. Additionally, he instituted an annual international “Call For Scores” project that in 2015 received over 920 applicants from forty countries. He has also worked with the Tucson Symphony’s Young Composer Project which is praised by Yo-Yo Ma as an “extraordinary program.”

Verville studied conducting at the renowned Pierre Monteux School and has been privileged to be mentored by esteemed conductors James DePreist, Stephen Lord, Michael Jinbo, Bruce Hangen, and Timothy Russell. He earned degrees in music from the University of Oklahoma, Arizona State University, and the Boston Conservatory.

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Bryan Black, Georgia Symphony Orchestra Chorus Director

Bryan BlackBryan Black has worked as a conductor, educator, church musician and arts advocate since moving to Atlanta in 1994. He first trained as an organist and pianist at the undergraduate level (BM, Samford University), then followed a passion for choral music and conducting at the graduate level (MM, Florida State). While at FSU he was deeply influenced by Rodney Eichenberger – the internationally regarded pedagogue and conductor. Bryan also holds the “Certificate of German” granted by the Goethe-Institute in Berlin. As a church musician, Black has served the 4,200 member First United Methodist Church of Marietta as Director of Music since 2003. Previous church appointments have included work with the 1996 “Celebrate Faith and Arts” Olympic event and an invitational choir festival tour to Kristiansand, Norway.

Black was invited by Michael Alexander to form the GSO Chorus in 2007. Over seven seasons it has performed masterworks such as Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Poulenc’s Gloria, Bach’s Magnificat, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Vaughan William’s Sea Symphony. The chorus now numbers some 90 voices and draws talented professional and amateur singers from across the area. In 2012, the Chamber Chorus made its first international tour to Spain under his direction.

For ten years Black conducted The DeKalb Choral Guild, a community chorus based in Tucker. Over this time the choir tripled in size, made tours of Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, appeared three times at the Piccolo Spoleto festival in Charleston, performed for the Georgia ACDA state convention and released its first professional recording. In the late ‘90s, Black sang with the ASO Chorus and Chamber Chorus – including Mr. Shaw’s final performance of Bach’s B-minor Mass in Carnegie Hall. During this time he also taught on the faculty of Georgia State University and was a visiting conductor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. For his contributions to the city’s cultural life he was named a “Lexus Leader in the Arts” by Atlanta Public Broadcasting in 2003.

After a successful musical project with the Atlanta Goethe-Institute (Hugo Distler’s Totentanz), Bryan was awarded a cultural ambassadorship in 2004 which allowed him to attend an intensive course offered in Weimar, Germany. He currently serves as president of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) in Georgia and assisted John Rutter as organizer for a conductor’s honor chorus during the 2013 ACDA National Conference.


Sam Skelton, GSO Jazz! Director

Sam Skelton

Sam Skelton is the Director of the GSO Jazz! Repertoire Orchestra, GSO Jazz! Ensemble and the youth jazz ensemble of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra (GYSO) Program – all dedicated to bringing new age and traditional big band charts alive with every performance.

A native of Conyers, Georgia, Skelton has been active on the Atlanta music scene for well over two decades. Skelton graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State University and the private studio of Tony Carere with a degree in jazz studies. During his course of study at GSU, Skelton was a Montgomery Music Scholar and a two-time fellowship recipient to the Aspen Music Festival. He continued his saxophone studies with Kenneth Radnofsky at Boston University in 1991.

As a woodwind doubler, Skelton is well versed in any genre of music. His grasp of saxophone, clarinet and flute has enabled him to remain very busy in live performance as well as in the studio.

Skelton has performed and/or soloed with The London Symphony Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, The Atlanta Pops, The Peachtree Pops, The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra as well as numerous local high school and civic ensembles. World Premiers include James Oliverio’s Children of A Common Mother, Lee Johnson’s Ora Pro Mi: Concerto for Winds Soloist (clarinet, flute and soprano saxophone) and Seaside Symphony (clarinet and soprano saxophone soloist). Skelton also played the premier recording of Ora Pro Mi and Seaside Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra.

As a sideman on over 175 compact discs, Skelton remains very active in the studio and can be heard on recordings by such artists as: Elton John, December Radio, Babbie Mason, Howard Tate, Matchbox 20, Train, Edwin McCain, The Gap Band and The Ohio Players. Television and radio jingles include The Georgia Lottery, Glen Beck, The Weather Channel, The Travel Channel, Ford, The Cartoon Network, CNN, Nature’s Own, Popeye’s, Papa John’s and Turner South. Television appearances include In the Heat of the Night, Savannah and Sinbad’s Summer Jam II on HBO.

Skelton is currently Director of Jazz Studies and Lecturer in Saxophone at Kennesaw State University. He is also Artistic Director of GSO Jazz! and GYSO Jazz!. Skelton served as Professor of Saxophone at Georgia State University from 1991 to 2004 and was Jazz Ensemble Director at Georgia Tech from 2002-2004 and Artist-in-Residence at The University of Georgia Jazz Department. He served as Visiting Professor of Saxophone at Furman University 2001-02. Professional associations include: Georgia Music Educators Association, Georgia Association of Jazz Educators, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (voting member) and the American Federation of Musicians. Skelton is a Conn-Selmer Artist. He resides in Buford, GA.

For his contributions to the city’s cultural life he was named a “Lexus Leader in the Arts” by Atlanta Public Broadcasting in 2003.


Dr. Steven Eric Hawk, Philharmonia Ensemble Director

S. Erik Hawk, Philharmonia Conductor

Dr. Steven Eric Hawk is a conductor, composer, and violist. He holds a doctorate of music degree from the University of Georgia in orchestral conducting, with a minor area in composition. Having a passion for 19th century composer Hans Rott, his dissertation on Rott’s Symphony No. 1 was recently selected for publication. He received his Master of Music degree in instrumental conducting from Colorado State University and a Bachelors degree in composition from the University of Central Florida.

Currently, he serves as the music director of the Alpharetta Symphony Orchestra, the Georgia Youth Symphony Philharmonia, and the Fulton Science Academy Private School orchestras in Alpharetta.
Dr. Hawk’s teaching experience encompasses a wide variety of ages and levels. He has been an instructor at many music institutions, including the Amadeus Piano Academy in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Metropolitan Area Youth Symphony in Leesburg, Florida, the Community Music School at UGA, and PianoAlpharetta. He has served as a music faculty member at Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Music Project.

In addition to his teaching and conducting duties, Dr. Hawk is an active arranger and composer. He wrote and premiered his first symphony at UGA in 2014 and continues to write/arrange for numerous ensembles. He is currently working on original and arranged educational string music for publication.


Dr. Nathaniel Parker, Associate Conductor, Camerata Ensemble Director

Nathaniel F. Parker

A talented and dynamic musician, Nathaniel F. Parker has conducted professional orchestras in the United States, Peru, Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Equally at home working with professionals and training future generations of musicians, Dr. Parker serves as Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he is Music Director and Conductor of the Marywood University Orchestra and teaches courses in conducting, instrumental methods, musicology, and analytical techniques. His recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (MI), the Connecticut Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 9 String Fest. Also 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 currently serves as editor of the Journal of the Conductors Guild. In March 2015 received a Citation of Excellence in Teaching from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. Prior to his appointment at Marywood Dr. Parker held the positions of Assistant 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, and Graduate Conducting Intern at Michigan State University. Other previous positions include 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. He earned a Master of Music degree 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, Jorge Mester, 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 degree in Bassoon Performance. Nathaniel resides in Scranton with his wife, Melody, their son, Jacob, and their dog, Sammy.


Whitney Tinley, Sinfonia Ensemble Director

Whitney Tinley is the director of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Sinfonia ensemble and Orchestra Director at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett County. She also serves as the coordinator for Georgia’s 11th and 12th grade All-State Orchestra as well as for Gwinnett County’s 6th grade Honors Orchestra. She has worked as the bass coach for the Gwinnett County Youth Honors Orchestra and has served as a conductor and bass instructor and ENCORE and ASTA orchestra camps. She maintains an active string bass studio and a career as a freelance bassist. She is a member of the Saint Cecilia Saints, the orchestra for the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Whitney graduated from DePauw University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, and has her Masters in Music Education from the University of Georgia.


John Lawless, Percussion Ensemble Director


John Lawless became Director of Percussion Studies at Kennesaw State University in 2004. Principal Timpanist of the Atlanta Opera since 1979, Mr. Lawless was appointed as Principal Timpanist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Orchestra in 1986. Since 1978, Mr. Lawless has performed and recorded as an extra with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra while maintaining a thriving freelance career as studio and pit percussionist.A founding member of the Atlanta Percussion Trio, Mr. Lawless performs more than 600 school concerts a year for audiences totaling 300,000 annually. In 2004 the Atlanta Percussion Trio performed as concerto soloists with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in “The Glory and the Grandeur” by Russell Peck.

A graduate of Georgia State University, Mr. Lawless’s teachers include Tom Float, Jack Bell, Cloyd Duff, Paul Yancich, Bill Wilder, and Mark Yancich. Mr. Lawless’s previous faculty appointments include those at Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, and West Georgia State University.

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