Meet Our Conductors
Dr. Gary Robinson, Artistic Director, Young Artist Orchestra conductor
Gary A. Robinson received a B.F.A. from the University of Connecticut, Education Certification earned at Hartt School of music, an M.M. in Instrumental Conducting from Mississippi College, and a D.M.A. in Orchestral Conducting from the University of South Carolina. He received additional training in orchestral conducting from Symphony School of America, the Florida Festival Conductors Symposium, and the Conductors Guild Conducting Institute.
Gary Robinson has served on the music faculty of the Fine Arts Center and has been the Director of FAC’s Orchestra-in-Residence, the Young Artist Orchestra (formerly Greenville County Youth Orchestra) since 1985. Robinson served as Music Director of Greenville’s Foothills Philharmonic from 2000-2010. In the 1990s, he was an artistic program advisor and guest conductor with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. Robinson is the Founder of the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra of Jackson, Mississippi, and has been featured as a guest conductor with the Hendersonville (NC) Symphony Orchestra, the Clemson University Symphony, the Carolina Youth Symphony, and the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Robinson has conducted South Carolina’s All-State Orchestra (1993 and 1997) as well as the New Hampshire All-State Orchestra, and was the featured clinician with the Kenosha (WI) United School District Orchestra Festival. Robinson served as the Producer/Director of Greenville’s Singing Christmas Tree from 1993 until its close in 2000, and has served as Interim Choral Director at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church.
As a music faculty member at the Fine Arts Center Robinson has taught classes in percussion, winds & brass instruments, and music theory. Robinson was FAC’s Teacher of the Year in 1996 and, in 2005 was the winner of a Surdna Foundation grant to study orchestral repertoire in New York City and drum set at the Drummer’s Collective. He has held adjunct positions as a percussion teacher at Limestone College, the University of Connecticut, and Furman University, and has served as a band director in Mississippi public and private schools. Robinson has performed as a percussionist and timpanist since 1977 and has played with orchestras in Connecticut, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. He is a veteran of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and currently performs with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. Gary’s wife since 1980 is violinist, teacher and conductor Kathleen S. Robinson. Violinist daughter Chloe is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory. Daughter Caroline is an organ performance major at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA.
Kathleen Robinson, Philharmonic Conductor
Kathleen S. Robinson is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She holds a Master of Music in Chamber Music from the University of Connecticut where she was a member of the Graduate String Quartet in residence.
A seasoned violinist, she has held titled positions with the Mississippi, and Asheville Symphony Orchestras and is currently the assistant Principal Second Violin with the Greenville Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. She has performed as a freelance musician with several orchestras in the southeast including the Savannah, Charleston Symphony, the SC Philharmonic, and the Hendersonville (NC) Symphony. She performs with Classic Touch, a group of local freelance musicians. She was a scholarship recipient for the Siena (Italy) Music Festival and has also toured in Costa Rica as a member of the Florida Festival Orchestra. Her experience as an educator and youth orchestra conductor spans 32 years. During her tenure in Mississippi, she was in part responsible for the reorganization of the Jackson Youth Symphony. Currently, Kathleen is a string teacher at Beck and JL Mann Academies in Greenville, SC and is conductor of the Greenville County Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. She has served as staff conductor for the Furman Music Camp and clinician for the Greenville County HS Orchestra Festival as well as the Pickens County Middle School Orchestra Festival. She has served as guest conductor for the Mississippi All State String Orchestra. Kathleen is a Past-President of the South Carolina chapter of the American String Teachers Association. She is married to conductor and teacher, Dr. Gary A. Robinson, and the mother of two children, Chloe Robinson Groth, a violinist and string teacher at the Wisconsin Conservatory in Milwaukee, WI, and Caroline, a senior organ performance major at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Mr. Eric Bell, Director Sinfonia Orchestra
Eric Bell is currently in his nineteenth year as a teacher
and his fourth at Beck Academy in Greenville. He came to Greenville County
Schools in the fall of 2006 as the band director at
The James F. Byrnes High School Marching Band won 33 marching band contests while Mr. Bell served as an assistant director, including nine 4A Upper-state Championships and six 4A State Championships. They were a finalist at Bands of America Regional Championships 11 times and won 5 class AA Championships at those events. They were a 3 time Grand National Semi-Finalist. The band marched in two Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parades (1996, 2002) and the 2001 Presidential Inaugural Parade.
Bell has served as a Region Band clinician for South Carolina Regions 3, 4 and
5. He has conducted All-County bands in Pickens,
Mr. Bell and his wife of 16 years, Cheryl have two daughters; Reece, 9 and Audrey 7.
Mrs. Ashley Rhoden, Director Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra
Ashley Rhoden is a violinist, teacher, and conductor of the Greenville County Chamber Strings. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from Furman University where she was a violinist in the Furman Symphony Orchestra and Hartness String Quartet. In addition to performing as a violinist, she was also a member of the Paladin Regiment Marching Band.
Mrs. Rhoden is also a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities where she performed with the Concertato Orchestra. In 2007, she had the opportunity to perform and intern with the Carolina Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall as well as receive the Susan B. Crouch Award for Musical Excellence.
She has served as Furman’s Summer Music Program Intern, the South Carolina Suzuki Institute Director’s Assistant, and is currently the orchestra director for both Eastside and Riverside High Schools.
Ms. Angela Rex, Director Junior Sinfonia
Originally from Taylors SC, Angela Rex received her undergraduate degree in violin performance from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. In May of 2000, she completed her Master's degree in violin performance at Converse College. From 2000-2005, Angela served as the Elementary Strings Coordinator for Spartanburg School District Seven.
Outside of teaching and performing, Ms. Rex enjoys reading, watching movies & TV, and spending time with her friends and family.