MUSICIANS & CONDUCTORS

CONDUCTORS

Music Director
A versatile conductor, Kayoko Dan is active in the fields of orchestra, ballet, and opera. Ms. Dan began her tenure as the 8th Music Director of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera in the 2011/12 season. Previously, she served as Assistant Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony and Music Director of Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras. She has been awarded the Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, as well as the David Effron Conducting Fellowship at the Chautauqua Institute. Ms. Dan has participated in numerous workshops including the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar, International Bartok Festival, Fondazione I Pomeriggi Musicali Conducting Workshop and National Conducting Institute.
As a strong advocate of music education, Ms. Dan is in demand as a clinician at universities, high schools, youth orchestras, and regional orchestras throughout the country. She has taught at several elementary schools including Thomas J. Pappas school for homeless children in Arizona as an ArtsBridge Scholar. While serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, her dedication and passion for music education was recognized by the Graduate Teaching Excellence Award from the Arizona State University. Additionally, she is a frequent guest speaker at university conducting classes to encourage young conductors who are pursuing a career in music.
Ms. Dan began her musical training in Japan at age three. After relocating to the United States, she continued her musical studies with flute and received a Bachelor in Music Education at the University of Texas, and her Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting and Master in Music Education from Arizona State University. Her principal teachers are Timothy Russell and Timothy Muffitt. She has also studied with Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, Zoltan Pesko, Jorma Panula, and William Reber.
Ms. Dan and her husband Andrew reside in Houston with their son and his canine sister, Tomo.
Assistant Director
Ismael Sandoval is a Mexican-American conductor based in Chattanooga, TN. As a conductor, Ismael has directed several ensembles across the East Coast, all invested in the pursuit of bringing people together in the beauty and power of music. Ismael is currently the assistant conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera (CSO), the conductor of the CSO Youth Symphony, and music director at First Christian Church of Chattanooga.
Ismael is a collaborator and a bridge-builder between various organizations and his efforts span many disciplines and genres. In his efforts to give back to his community and promote the profound impact that music can have on people, Ismael frequently brings music to life in unorthodox performance venues such as homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, hospitals, parks, and anywhere else where music might be needed.
Ismael was the first Artistic Director/Conductor of the Women’s Chorus, an ensemble in Boston that connects women experiencing poverty and homelessness with the healing power of music. In addition to his work with the Women’s Chorus, he also served as the assistant conductor for both the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Eureka Ensemble. Ismael was also the conducting fellow with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra with Diane Wittry for the ‘17-’18 season. In 2017, Ismael won the College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference Conducting Competition and Workshop.
As a champion of new music, Ismael frequently premieres works by composers from all around the country in several different styles and genres. Ismael also believes in expanding the traditional canon of repertoire to include more representation from diverse composers of all walks of life and has programmed unique concerts that tastefully balance pieces from the classical canon with these new and exciting works.
Ismael is quite passionate about opera and has served as music director for several productions with various companies in Boston. Ismael’s work as an arranger and orchestrator were showcased in the 2019 season with a highly acclaimed arrangement and interpretation of Bellini’s La Sonnambula (Promenade Opera Project). Ismael also ventured into the digital music-making medium during the COVID-19 lockdown by music directing an online performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio (Promenade Opera Project), as well as producing several virtual choir projects.
Ismael has had recent engagements with Corsara Artists (Menotti’s The Medium), Commonwealth Lyric Theater Opera (Bizet’s Carmen), the Boston Philharmonic, Eureka Ensemble, MassOpera (Strauss’ Die Fledermaus), the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra (Lawrenceville, GA), the Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island (Langley, WA), the Medomak Festival Orchestra (Washington, ME), the College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference Orchestra, the Florida Keys Community Concert Band, the Berklee & Boston Conservatory Recording Orchestra, and the Boston Conservatory Composers' Recital Series.
Ismael received his Masters of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, under the tutelage of Bruce Hangen, and received his B.M. in Music Education and B.M. in Composition from the University of Florida.
Music Director Emeritus
Marking his 26th anniversary with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Music Director Emeritus, Bob Bernhardt, formerly served as Music Director and Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera for 19 seasons. He was the second Music Director in the combined company’s history, and is its first with the title Emeritus. Along with the extraordinary rejuvenation of our city, Bernhardt likewise led the CSO into its most exciting, hopeful and inviting period with his unique blend of dedication, commitment to excellence, and sense of humor. A lover of all genres of music, he is equally at home in symphonic, operatic, pops and educational performances.
Concurrently, Bob is in his 22nd year as Principal Pops Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, and is in his 37th consecutive season with the company. This is also his 4th season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan. He is also an Artist-in-Residence at Lee University and conductor of the Lee Symphony.
Bernhardt recently made his conducting debuts with the Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic, all of which resulted in return engagements. This season marks the 26th anniversary of his debut with the Boston Pops (at John Williams’ invitation in 1992), and is returning to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for the 13th consecutive year as conductor of their Symphony Under the Sky Festival and as a guest on several of their subscription series. This season he will appear as a guest conductor with the orchestras in Detroit, Florida (Tampa), Columbus, New Jersey, Portland (ME), and Louisiana.
Formerly, he was the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic (1995-98), Artistic Director of the Sewanee Music Festival in 1999, Music Director and Conductor of the Tucson (AZ) Symphony Orchestra (1987-95), Principal Guest Conductor of Kentucky Opera (1991-96), Artistic Director of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta (1993-97) and Music Director of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra (1985-1987).
He was a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Union (NY) College, where he was an Academic All-American Baseball Player, and captain of the school’s soccer team. His children, Alex and Charlotte, live in Seattle. He and his wife, Nora, live on Signal Mountain.
CSO Chorus Director
Darrin James Hassevoort has been hailed as “a singer with a superb tenor voice” by the Shakespeare Bulletin. The Chattanooga Times Free Press recently claimed, “Hassevoort boasts a bright, clear tenor voice.” He made his operatic debut in the role of Borsa from Verdi’s Rigoletto, and has performed operatic roles in Madama Butterfly, The Barber of Seville, Lucia di Lammermoor, Faust, La Boheme, Turandot, Amahl And The Night Visitors, and A Hand of Bridge. He was also a featured soloist in the Chattanooga Symphony’s Pops concerts entitled, It’s a Wonderful Night and Play Ball with Maestro Robert Bernhardt. Hassevoort has also worked with musicians such as Kenneth Kiesler, Joseph Flummerfelt, Donald Pippin, and David Brubeck.
Hassevoort has soloed with Choral Arts of Chattanooga and with the Atlanta Sacred Chorale. He has performed in many oratorio productions including Schubert’s Mass in G Major, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Haydn’s Theresienne Messe, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Cantata #12, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Dubois’ The Seven Last Words of Christ, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Nelson/Ferrell’s modern oratorio Saviour. Hassevoort has conducted opera performances of Offenbach’s L’ile de Tulipatan, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Patience, Schuman’s The Mighty Casey, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte . He served as Assistant Conductor for the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera’s staging rehearsals, and he has also conducted productions of Handel’s Messiah and the Harvest Hymn Festival for the CSO. In addition, Hassevoort has conducted musical theatre productions of The BoyFriend, Working, Cinderella, Musical of Musicals: The Musical, Once Upon A Mattress, The Secret Garden, Little Women, and two musical revues.
He currently serves as the Chorus Master for the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the Artistic Director of Choral Arts of Chattanooga, and he serves as the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at Chattanooga State

Orchestra Roster

Section musicians are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of chair. 

CSO Chorus

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Chorus includes both professional and amateur musicians from the Tri-State Region and has been performing for over 50 years. The CSO Chorus repertoire ranges from La Boheme to The Music of Queen.

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Chorus includes both professional and amateur musicians from the Tri-State Region and has been performing for over 50 years. The CSO Chorus repertoire ranges from La Boheme to The Music of Queen.

Hailed as, “phenomenal with incredible energy and careful attention to vocal and instrumental detail" by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, this volunteer chorus gives their time and talents to create exceptional music. Darrin Hassevoort, CSO Director of Choruses, has led the CSO chorus for over 20 seasons.

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Opera

Opera Artistic Advisor
Mezzo-soprano Laura Brooks Rice has won acclaim on the opera and concert stage for her rich, warm voice, musicality, charm and sensitive acting ability.
From 1985-2019 Miss Rice was on faculty at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where she was Professor of Voice. In addition to teaching private voice, she was the creator and director of the CoOPERAtive Program for 15 years, taught courses in opera: The Singing Actor: Opera and Opera Auditions: Techniques and Preparation. Along with her teaching at Westminster, Miss Rice has a private studio of professional singers and has been a vocal consultant to the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program and is currently the voice teacher for the Cafritz Program with the Washington Opera as well as the Glynn Studio with Atlanta Opera. She has been an adjunct voice faculty member at The Curtis Institute of Music, In the summers of 2012-2019 she was on the faculty of the distinguished program IVAI in Montreal and Virginia and New York. She has taught at Santa Fe Opera and at the Bel Canto Institute in San Miguel, Mexico.
Her private students are currently singing as regular principal artists at The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Ft. Worth Opera, Dayton Opera, Minnesota Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Mobile Opera, Maggio Musicale, Opera Omaha, Portland Opera, Knoxville Opera, San Diego Opera, Lake George Opera, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Opera North, Central City, Atlanta Opera and Aix en Provence and most of the world’s opera houses and orchestras.
Miss Rice has been on the steering committee for the Singer Training Council under the auspices of Opera America. She has been member of the board of advisors of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Astral Artistic Services as well as the Princeton Festival. She has served as a judge on the panels of the National NATSAA Competition, Astral Artistic Services Annual Auditions and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
She is the director of the newly launched Sewanee OperaFest, a four week opera/vocal/chamber music training program in Sewanee Tennessee and is a part of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
In a diverse repertoire, including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, Elgar’s Sea Pictures, Brahm’s Alto Rhapsody and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Miss Rice has appeared from coast to coast in the United States in concerts and recitals. In recent seasons, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on several occasions in works including Handel’s Messiah, which she has also performed with numerous other orchestras nationwide. Miss Rice has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, Bethlehem Bach Festival and Boulder Bach Festival. She made her Mostly Mozart Festival debut singing the role of Apollo in Mozart’s Apollo and Hyacinth, has been heard in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego and New Jersey Symphonies with conductors, Kurt Masur, Kurt Sanderling, Robert Shaw and Hugh Wolf.
In the 1992-93 season Miss Rice made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Wowkle in La Fanciulla del West. Following her debut in 1981 with the San Francisco Opera as Grimgerde in Die Walküre she has appeared with that company in several productions, performing such roles as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Varvara in Katya Kabanova and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly. She has also performed with the Spoleto Festival (Italy) in Honneger’s King David.
A participant in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, she sang numerous performances ad an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera Center.