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Under Mr. Zona’s leadership, the Rapides Symphony has undertaken highly successful major projects that have brought the orchestra broad acclaim and national recognition while cultivating new audiences for the Symphony. Two recent major projects are the establishment of a million plus dollar endowment and the sponsorship of the Rapides Symphony Community Music School starting in September 2010.
Both projects aim to ensure a bright future for the Rapides Symphony for generations to come. Artistic collaborations have also been a hallmark of Maestro Zona’s tenure. Partnerships with the Louisiana International Piano Competition and the world-premier of William Banfield’s “Hope” Symphony as part of a community-wide “Talk to the Music” Festival celebrating Alexandria native writer Arna Bontemps are just two of the signature projects that have made the orchestra a true treasure in the community. Mr. Zona and the Rapides Symphony have also instituted youth and family programming, bringing a new generation of music lovers to the concert hall.
Mr. Zona’s conducting engagements abroad including performances with the St. Petersburg (Russia) Academic Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg (Russia) Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia “Mihail Jora” of Bacau, Romania and the Puebla Symphony in Mexico in May of 2011. As Assistant Conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas from 1999-2003, Mr. Zona conducted exciting pops, family and award-winning educational concerts for thousands of children. Also enthusiastic about working with young musicians, he has conducted clinics and youth orchestras across Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. As a part-time faculty memberat Louisiana State University at Alexandria, Mr. Zona has unlocked the door to classical music to hundreds of undergraduate students, sparking the next generation of music-lovers in the central Louisiana region.
A native of New Castle, Pennsylvania, Mr. Zona started piano study at the age of 7 and made the Horn his principal instrument while in high school. He earned Bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University, continued graduate studies in Horn at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and conducting at Ball State University where he was appointed assistant conductor of the Muncie, Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Zona also holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. Mr. Zona resides in Alexandria, Louisiana with his wife Tamera, a pianist, and their two young sons..