Our Mission

To provide high-quality musical experiences to all 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!

Director Emeritus

Lois Ferrari

Italian-American conductor Lois Ferrari has served as Music Director of the Austin Civic Orchestra since 2002. In recent years, Maestra Ferrari was awarded 2nd place (2019, 2016, and 2012) for the American Prize in Community Orchestra Conducting. Judge David Katz remarked, “She reminds me of the eminent Margaret Hillis.” Under her baton, the ACO was also awarded 2nd place (2016) for the American Prize in Community Orchestra Performance.

Over the years, Dr. Ferrari has brought many celebrated guest artists to the ACO stage, including Peter Bay, Michelle Schulmann, and Anton Nel. She has also been intimately involved with nurturing future virtuosi through the ACO’s Pearl Amster Youth Festivals and with the Texas Rising Stars Contest, 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 many new works during the course of her career. One such composition 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. In regard to this experience he wrote, “The whole country needs to get behind the arts in their own communities, just as Lois and the ACO are doing in Austin.”

Dr. Ferrari is also Professor Emeritus of Music at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and was a member of its faculty from1993-2022. She conducted the SU Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, taught conducting courses, and served as host and clinician of the SU Conductors’ Institute. Her ensembles premiered numerous works, performed at professional conferences, and welcomed renowned guest artists. Several of Dr. Ferrari’s conducting students have gone on to pursue graduate conducting degrees at prestigious institutions such as the Peabody Institute, the Moores School of Music, and the Ithaca College School of Music.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting, Dr. Ferrari was the recipient of a full doctoral fellowship and was appointed Associate Conductor of the renowned Eastman Wind Ensemble. She also earned a Master of Music in conducting and a Bachelor of Music with a double major in performance and music education from the Ithaca College School of Music. Her principal teachers over the years include: Donald Hunsberger, Rodney Winther, David Effron, Pamela Gearhart, Lawrence Doebler, and Donald Neuen.

When she isn’t busy with musical endeavors, Maestra Ferrari indulges an interest in playwriting/screenwriting and has won several awards for her efforts. She is also an avid Harley Davidson motorcycle rider, golf enthusiast, and amateur chef. Originally a Long Islander, Dr. Ferrari now resides in Georgetown, Texas with her husband Dr. Paul Gaffney and their twin sister black kitties, Hilda and Zelda.

2022-2023 is Lois Ferrari’s 20th season with the ACO.

Assistant Conductor

W.P. Sterneman III

Gus has joyfully served as the Assistant Conductor of the ACO since 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas; a Master’s degree from Butler University in Indianapolis with a double major in Conducting and Music History; and a Doctorate in Opera and Musical Theatre Conducting at Arizona State University.

In addition to his work with the ACO, Gus serves as the Director of Worship and Arts at Abiding Love Lutheran Church. Gus is also the Music Director for the Heart of Texas Chorus, an acappella barbershop chorus in San Marcos, and is an active clinician with the Barbershop Harmony Society. His passion for stagecraft can be seen on display with Austin’s One Ounce Opera as their Technical Director.

Gus spends his free time playing tabletop games with his wife, teaching his two children the finer points of musical theatre, and practicing his passion for lutherie. He feels Menotti is the epitome of English text setting and hesitantly admits to preferring Verdi over Wagner, but always comes home to Beethoven. He enjoys a good pun, but loves a really bad one. And coffee. Lots of coffee.


Violin I

Carolyn Richards-Chacon | Concertmaster
Raymond D’Alessio
Tavia Ewen
Raymundo Garcia
Monica Howell
Vivian Kwong
Sherri Marcus
Kate Morics
Lynn Petro
Clint Plumlee
Dawn Smith
Julienne 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
Art Monzingo
Kristin Robertson
Amanda Tofflemire
Ronda von Sehrwald
Paul Zagieboylo


Jarrod Tuikka | Principal
Tani Barr | Assistant
Ben Bachmeier
Sarah Crawford
Linda Epps
Madeline Horrell
Cecile Morgan
Meagan O’Neal
Caleb Sebolt
Isabel Tweraser
John Whitney

Double Bass

James Sproat | Principal
Kathy Petheram | Assistant
Alex Boffa
Louis Handy
Garret Jaynes
Noah Miller


Lisa Lamb | Principal



Marcia Gillespie-Norder | Principal
Mattie Baker


Madeline Warner | Principal
Trish Olives
Margie Yankeelov


YuHua Oliphint | Principal
Kelsey Behnfeldt
Laura Gorman
Stephen Savage


Amy Crandell | Principal
Bryan Chin-Foon
Melissa Vauk


French Horn

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


Jose Yznaga | Principal
Randy Howard
Rick Kutcher


Amelia Rosenberger | Principal
Jesse Nolen
Robert Tung (Bass)


Mike Lynch | Principal

Percussion and Piano


JJ Pereira | Principal
Jacqueline Burdwood
Kyle Garza
Alex Willhelm


Lan-Thach Kratzke | Principal


Alan Smith | 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.

Brett Osburn
Ben Bachmeier
Past President
Aurel Garza-Tucker
Vice President & Assistant Education Director
Isabel Tweraser
Secretary & Diversity Director
Melissa Vauk
Trish Olives
Art Director
Amy Crandell
Education Director
Richard Edmonson
Andrew Goolsbee
Marc Pouhé
Carolyn Richards-Chacon
Amanda Tofflemire
Madeline Warner

Orchestra Staff

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

Lois Ferrari
Music Director Emeritus
W.P. Sterneman III
Assistant Conductor | Technical Director
Amy Crandell
Executive Director
Maggie Meador
Operations Manager
Andrew Christjoy
Public Relations and Marketing Manager
Jacqueline Burdwood
Equipment Manager
Jose Yznaga
Yvette Murray
Development Director