About Us

APO Art and Music Concer March 2018, Photo Credit @2018 Kathleen Messmer Photography

APO Art and Music Concert, March 2018, Photo Credit:  @2018 Kathleen Messmer Photogrtaphy


Byron Herrington


The Albuquerque Philharmonic is delighted with new music director Byron Herrington.  Byron has been active as a performer, teacher, and conductor in Albuquerque since 1981, but was born and raised in the dusty flatlands near Lubbock, Texas. He attended schools in Port Isabel, Texas, and Ada, Oklahoma. His conducting studies were principally with Guy Fraser Harrison, conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony. 

After a trombone performance degree at the University of Oklahoma (studied with Dr. Irvin Wagner), Byron won a position with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, where he performed and frequently conducted for thirty years until the implosion of the NMSO in April, 2011. He is a founding member of the New Mexico Philharmonic and is Principal Trombonist with the Santa Fe Symphony. 


This is a typical rehearsal.  We have rehearsed on Monday nights since the orchestra began in 1971

Orchestra Rehearsal

This is a typical orchestra rehearsal.  We have been rehearsing on Monday nights since the orchestra began in 1972.  Several members of the orchestra were professional musicians at one time, others majored in music, but chose a different field to support themselves, and others chose fields such as science, medicine, teaching, law, science, but also have a love for music.   APO is a very high level community orchestra, and we are thrilled to perform for you.

More About Us

Art and Music Concert 2013 at CHS.  Artist Amy Baumann, Photo Credit Irene Fertik

(Photo credit above: Irene Fertik, artist Amy Baumann)



For over 47 years, the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra has brought accomplished musicians together with a mission to bring high quality orchestral  music to underserved communities in the Albuquerque area, at no expense to our audience.   The Albuquerque Philharmonic is for people of all ages and socioeconomic statuses.  We are committed to working with students, not only with the Art and Music concerts, but also with trios, string quartets, and wind quintets performing at local schools. We welcome you to our concerts.

The “Art and Music Concerts” are all about student creativity and imagination. The artwork is inspired by images or feelings the student perceives when actively listening to the music in class. The students then create artwork from a variety of mediums, including acrylics, pastels, oils, photography, pottery, and more. At the March concerts, the artwork is projected overhead during the concert, and is also on display in the lobby at both venues.
The Art and Music concerts began in 2011 and take place annually in March.  The first Art and Music concert started with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” which was written in response to the artwork of his close friend, Victor Hartmann, at Hartmann’s memorial service.   Here, the students are doing the opposite, they are creating artwork to the music.   

Past history of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra: The orchestra was formed by cellist Jo Kaestner in September 1972, at the suggestion of Bob Wolfe, and given the name “Albuquerque Lesser Symphony Orchestra.”  The acronym “ALSO” was fitting for the fledgling community orchestra to separate if from the professional orchestra, the Albuquerque (Greater) Symphony Orchestra (which became NMSO, and is currently the NM Phil). Jo admits the name, Albuquerque Lesser Symphony Orchestra, was facetious, so in September 1977 the name was changed to the Albuquerque Philharmonia Orchestra.  In 1989, the name changed to the current Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, during the tenure of music director Willy Sucre. 

           “An Amateur” says Jo Kaestner, “is one who cultivates a particular pursuit without pursing it professionally, one having a marked fondness for something.”  The word comes from the Latin word, “to love.”  John Gaston, the first conductor of ALSO, was also a violinist in the professional group, The (Greater) Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra which later morphed into the NMSO, and now is the NM Philharmonic.  John was also choir director for Trinity Methodist Church at that time.  Rehearsals were Mondays at 7:30 PM at the Albuquerque HS.  To this day we still have Monday night rehearsals, 4 pairs of concerts, plus the annual chamber concert.  

          The conductors of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra are:

  • John Gaston conductor and music director from 1975 till Aug 76
  • Willy Sucre, Conductor and music director, Sept 76-June 78
  • Joel Rosenberg was asked by Willy Sucre to succeed him, and he conducted only one month.
  • Daniel Birns Nov 79
  • Dale Kempter Nov, Dec 79 Sept 79, March 1980, 
  • Kay Shafer, 1980, 81
  • Willy Sucre Nov 81
  • Elaine Rafferty and Bill Swift shared the responsibility of Assistant Conductor in April 1982.  
  • David Oberg, guest conductor during Willy’s absence starting in Jan 1983.
  • Willy Sucre returns in November 1985
  • Elliott Higgins
  • Bill Swift
  • Joel Gelpe served as music director of APO for the seven years before David Felberg took over.  Joel has an impressive history,  To learn more about him, click here. 
  • David Felberg conducted APO as early as 1996, and became official Music Director from 2003 - 2018.  David led the orchestra and significantly improved the quality and musicianship of the group during his 15 year tenure.
  • Byron Herrington September 2018 - present

The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra is supported in part by the New Mexico Arts, Art Works, and the Albuquerque Community Foundation.



APO March 2018 Art and Music Concert

The March 2018 Art and Music Concert, conducted by Wayne Thelander, at  V. Sue Cleveland High School  in Rio Rancho, one of the finest acoustic concert halls in the southwest.  ©2018 Kathleen Messmer Photography


Always Something Going On

Check out our Concert Season page to find out what is in the works.


APO March 2018, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, photo credit: @2018 Kathleen Messmer Photography

APO May 2018 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church

Photo credit @2018 Kathleen Messmer Photography


First Violin 

Wendy Cieslak, Concertmaster+
George Friedman, Assistant Concertmaster
Joyce Carabajal
Elaine Davidson

Betty Hume
Maranatha Jackson
Judy Jones 

Melissa Kennedy
Christine Kreitinger
Dominic LaBrake +

Canice Laubhan
Nathan Moore

Joanna Scott
Julie Taylor

Bronwyn Wilson

Second Violin

Anne Kole*
Marty Baker

Daniel Davis

Ann Gebhart
Kristina Graff
Patricia Greathouse
Cecilia Hernandez
Elaine Johnson
Carolyn Muggenburg

Kate Preteska
Elizabeth Rivers- Gregory 

Bryan Schroeder
Jane Selverstone
Marilyn Thurlo
Mackenzie Timmons


Rebecca O'Boyle*

Jason Parris #+
Kari Brane
Jessica Coyle
Antoinette Drabek-Lazarin

Christine Fredenburgh
Nancy Garth
Tamara Johnson
Carson Leflang
Chris Lombardo
Gretchen Obenauf
Megan Schendel
Karen Schindwolf
Corrie Taillon


Merry Wadsworth*
Enid Bradley
Jill Bunting
Adriana Foris
Walter Gerstle +
Vicki Hontas
Mike Peterson
Lauren Starosta
Sherilyn Urban
Doug Wilber +
Sharon Woodworth



Andy Cowan *
Marlene Bryan +
Briana Ortiz  +
Marco Retana
Mikal Thompson


Anne Jones * +
Kelly Brown
Bonnie Schmader 

Oboe/English Horn

Mary Anne D'Arcangelis*
John Arango - English Horn


Al Lappin*
Marlene Bryan+
Beverly Ortiz


Brian Tuffnell*
Megan Wilcox


Joe Walters*
Kinley Culberston
John Golobic


Tim Falling*+
Sabrina Carrillo
Jackie Richter
Sue Thomas


Colin Lazauski*
Tom Golden
Jed Rowley


Brad Boyce*


Rick Kennedy*
Paul Arroyo
Josh Etzkin


Rick Kennedy*


Kirk Sugars*

* Denotes Principal

+ Denotes Board Member

# Denotes Acting Principal