Our Mission

To provide high-quality musical experiences to a broad spectrum of the Austin community and surrounding areas.

The Austin Civic Orchestra (ACO) is a non-profit civic organization that has been around since 1977. The ACO is devoted to bringing high quality music to the community and providing a musical outlet for professional and non-professional musicians alike. The ACO performs six to eight concerts each season, all of which offer programming to suit a wide variety of musical tastes, from traditional classics to pops and most everything in between. Presented at assorted convenient locations in the Austin area, the relaxed atmosphere and affordable cost have proven appealing to this community.

Interested in the ACO? There are many different opportunities to get involved and support our mission. Find out more today!


Lois Ferrari

Italian-American conductor, Lois Ferrari, is Professor of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and has been a member of the faculty since 1993. Dr. Ferrari conducts the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and teaches conducting. She also serves as host and clinician for the SU Conductors’ Institute in Instrumental conducting. 
As Music Director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, Maestra Ferrari was awarded 2nd place (2016 and 2019) and Finalist (2014) for the American Prize in community orchestra conducting. In 2010, she was honored as the first woman to conduct an orchestral performance at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin. Over the years, Dr. Ferrari has brought many celebrated guest artists to the ACO stage, including David Amram, Peter Bay, Lauren Lane, Jessica Mathaes, Anton Nel, Michelle Schumann, and David Whitwell. 

She has also been intimately involved with nurturing future virtuosi through the ACO’s Pearl Amster Youth Concerto Festival and Chamber Music Program, and with the Texas Rising Stars Concert, presented in collaboration with the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. 
An enthusiastic champion of new music, Maestra Ferrari founded the ACO Composition Contest and is proud to have premiered nearly thirty works during the course of her career. One such work was nominated by the Austin Critics’ Table for Best Symphonic Performance of 2009. In 2012, Dr. Ferrari and the ACO were commissioned by composer David Amram to present the Texas premiere of his Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting, Dr. Ferrari received a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Associate Conductor of the renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also earned a Master of Music degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in performance and music education from the Ithaca College School of Music. Her principal teachers were Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, Pamela Gearhart, Larry Doebler, and Donald Neuen.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Maestra Ferrari now resides in Georgetown, TX with her husband, Dr. Paul Gaffney, and their black sister kitties, Hilda and Zelda.

Assistant Conductor

W.P. Sterneman III

Gus Sterneman is now in his 6th year as Assistant Conductor with the ACO. He holds a Master’s degree from Butler University in Indianapolis with a double major in Instrumental Conducting and Music History and a Doctorate in Opera Conducting from Arizona State University, where his dissertation focused on Benjamin Britten as a conductor and musical interpretation. A former member of the ACO, performing on horn from 2002-2007, he also has a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory from Southwestern University. Gus spends his days with his wife Mary teaching their two children the finer points of musical theatre.


Violin I

Carolyn Richards-Chacon | Concertmaster
Bob Brockett
Kiva Ebert
Raymundo Garcia
HaNul Jun
Sherri Marcus
Lynn Petro
Clint Plumlee
Dawn Smith
Julienne Smith
Philip Smith
Sol Swords

Violin II

Dario Landazuri | Principal
Kyle Bryson | Assistant
Colin Bryson
Deborah Byers
Ferris Duhon
Dianne Eichenseer
Andrew Goolsbee
Carrie Houston
Irina Marinova
Evan Nave
Ellen Williams


Eugene Gott | Principal
Brett Osburn | Assistant
Shelley Bowers
Xavier Garcia
David Kaplan
Mark Leger
Elizabeth Li
Art Monzingo
Charles Stolze
Emma Strub
Amanda Tofflemire
Ronda von Sehrwald
Paul Zagieboylo


Jarrod Tuikka | Principal
Tani Barr | Assistant
Ben Bachmeier
Sarah Crawford
Judy DeWitt
Linda Epps
Sandy Hayes
Madeline Horrell
Scott McKenzie
Cecile Morgan
Caleb Sebolt
Tabitha Vanderstoep
John Whitney

Double Bass

James Sproat | Principal
Kathy Petheram | Assistant
Brendan Koeppen
Jasper Munden
Gia Rocco Gallela


Lisa Lamb | Principal



Sharon Davis | Principal
Mattie Kotsur
Megan Landsberg
Marcia Gillespie-Norder (Piccolo)


Madeline Warner | Principal
Trish Olives (English Horn)
Margie Yankeelov


Kathleen Bohn | Co-Principal
YuHua Oliphint | Co-Principal
Laura Gorman
Stephen Savage


Amy Crandell | Principal
Aurel Garza-Tucker
Melissa Vauk


French Horn

Christine Simpson | Principal
Alyssa Collins
Kathy Nolen
Toni Powell
Denise Stiglich


Jose Yznaga | Principal
Jack Godwin
Randy Howard


Ruben Ramirez | Principal
Jesse Nolen
Robert Tung (Bass)


Mike Lynch | Principal

Percussion and Piano


Tim Shuster | Principal
Kyle Garza


Claudine Lucena | Principal


Ian Fry | Co-Principal
Alan Smith | Co-Principal


The Austin Civic Orchestra performs and operates under the leadership of the Board of Directors, Officers of the Board, and Orchestra Staff.

Board of Directors

The function of the Board of Directors is to oversee budget management, publicity, venue selection, and fundraising. The following is a list of the ACO board.

Ben Bachmeier
Brett Osburn
Vice President
Aurel Garza-Tucker
Secretary & Assistant Education Director
Melissa Vauk
Trish Olives
Art Director
Amy Crandell
Education Director
Tani Barr
Judy Edmonson
Richard Edmonson
Andrew Goolsbee
Marc Pouhé
Carolyn Richards-Chacon
Erica Sigler
Amanda Tofflemire
Jarrod Tuikka
Madeline Warner

Orchestra Staff

The following key staff members bring high-quality classical music to the stage.

Lois Ferrari
Music Director
W.P. Sterneman III
Assistant Conductor | Technical Director
Alicia Van Rensburg
Development Director
Public Relations | Business Manager
Jose Yznaga