Who We Are


The mission of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra is to bring cultural enrichment and quality entertainment to the central Louisiana community through an annual series of professional music programs, and to foster the development of area musicians of all ages through performance opportunities and educational initiatives.

About The Orchestra

The Rapides Symphony Orchestra is a regional, professional orchestra based in Alexandria, Louisiana. 

The orchestra, which was founded in 1967 by a group of community musicians, performed its first concerts under the baton of founding director Arthur King. After the untimely death of Maestro King, William Kushner was appointed music director from 1968 until 2003. Under his leadership, the orchestra expanded its season, activities, and became the fully professional ensemble that it is today. Joshua Zona was named music director in 2004 and has held the position for the past 16 seasons, continuing the organization's growth with increased educational programs, community involvement, and artistic excellence.

Musicians of the Symphony come from all over the state of Louisiana and beyond to perform a series of 6 to 8 concerts each season ranging from our annual "Pops on the River" to the greatest classical repertoire written for orchestra. The Symphony's season typically runs from September through April comprising six concerts at the orchestra's home, the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in downtown Alexandria.

Joshua Zona

Music director/Conductor

Conductor Joshua Zona's insightful and energetic performances have garnered praise from audiences, musicians, and media alike. 

Under Maestro Zona's leadership, the Rapides Symphony Orchestra has enriched the culture of central Louisiana through fearless programming of classical repertoire, undiscovered gems, and premiers of contemporary works. Under Mr. Zona's leadership, the Rapides Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed tremendous growth in audience size, community engagement, and fiscal prosperity. Just a few of the classical and pops guest artists that he has brought to Central Louisiana are Orli Shaham, Evan Drachman, Alan Vizzuti, Beausoliel, and New Orleans jazz legend Ronnie Cole. Mr. Zona and the Rapides Symphony have instituted additional family and youth programming along with "side-by-side" opportunities for local young musicians, sharing the wonders of music with the next generation. 

Mr. Zona has led the Renova Music Festival in rural western Pennsylvania from its inception as an upstart chamber music festival into a thriving music festival that draws college-aged musicians from coast to coast. Having completed its seventh year, the festival brings nationally-recognized artist faculty members and pre-professional musicians together for two weeks of chamber music, chamber orchestra, and workshops each June. The growth of the festival can be seen through the number of applicants each year, the percentage of returning students from one year to the next, and the artistic level of performances that rise year after year. The festival has enjoyed tremendous community support as well.

Mr. Zona's conducting has brought him around the world, working with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Chamber Symphony (Russia), the St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra (Russia), the MAV Symphony Orchestra (Budapest, Hungary), the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra (Prague, Czech Republic), the Puebla State Symphony Orchestra (Mexico), the Constanta Symphony Orchestra (Romania), and return engagements with the San Remo Symphony Orchestra (Italy), the EurOrchestra Chamber Orchestra (Bari, Italy), the City of Grossetto Symphony (Tuscany, Italy.) 

From 1999-2003, Mr. Zona was the Assistant Conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and Music Director for the Southeast Texas Youth Symphony. During this time, Mr. Zona conducted award-winning educational concerts for thousands of children, as well as pops and holiday concerts. He has also conducted clinics and youth orchestras in Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Mr. Zona has served as part-time faculty and Artist in Residence at Louisiana State University at Alexandria, where he has ignited an appreciation for music among thousands of students, inspiring a new generation of music-lovers and concert-goers.

Maestro Zona holds a Bachelor's Degree from The Ohio State University and went on to graduate study in Horn Performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. As a graduate conducting student at Ball State University, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Muncie (Indiana) Symphony Orchestra. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.

Board of Trustees / Staff

  • Joe Mackay
  • Terry Aubin
  • Styphanie Duplissey
  • Mary Ann Clary


Board of Trustees

  • Joe Mackay, President
  • Mary Ann Clary - Past President
  • Terry Aubin, Treasurer
  • Styphanie Duplissey, Secretary
  • Carol Corbat
  • Barbara Elkins
  • Hollis Ervin
  • Nydia Freedman
  • Haiyan Liu
  • Maggie Martin
  • Joji Miller
  • Frankie Randell
  • Jimmy Sawtelle
  • India Reid Vermaelen
  • Amy Cheatham

Past Presidents

  • Donald S. Carnahan, Jr. M.D. 1967-69
  • Harry M. Brian, M.D. 1969-71
  • Thilo Steinschulte 1971-73
  • John H. Cade, Jr. 1973-75
  • James W. Welch Jr., M.D. 1975-77
  • Tom D. Norman, M.D. 1977-78
  • LeDoux R. Provosty, Jr. 1978-80
  • K. Kirk Domingos III 1980-82
  • Jane Ann Tudor 1982-83
  • W. Foster Walker III 1983-85
  • Frederick B. Alexius 1985-87
  • Roy O. Martin, Jr. 1987-88
  • Thomas Fowler 1988-90
  • Caroline Theus 1990-92
  • Joseph L. Hebert 1992-94
  • Molly Sooter 1994-96
  • Richard B. Crowell 1996-98
  • R. Bruce Wallace III, M.D. 1998-00
  • A. Brent Caplan 2000-02
  • William A. Tudor 2002-04
  • Margaret Waring 2004-05
  • Donald P. Moriarty II 2005-07
  • Michael L. Young 2007-08
  • Raymond J. Goodrich II 2008-09
  • Stephen Wheelis 2009-11
  • Michael Truelove 2011-13
  • Maggie Martin 2013-2017
  • Terry Aubin 2017-2021
  • Mary Ann Clary


    • Lin He, Concertmaster The Christoph Keller Jr. Chair
    • Hannah Urdea The Huie-Dellmon Chair
    • Iya Tsyrkot The Thilo Steinschulte Chair
    • Christian Aldridge
    • Iuliia Alyeksyeyeva
    • Jose Gabriel Velazquez Avila
    • Sinae Baek
    • Nicole Fassold
    • Angelina Freeman
    • Alba Layana
    • Mykhailo Levitskiy
    • Xuan Liu
    • Sabrina Parry
    • Ye Tao
    • Anton Zholondz
    • Grant Bedillion, Principal The Arthur King Chair
    • Kerri Christopher
    • Tim Gaffga
    • Paul Christopher Principal
    • Joy Bedillion
    • Milovan Paz
    • Jorge Rodriguez
    • Mao Mao Zhang
  • BASS
    • Robert Nash, Principal The Henry & Jean Blake Chair
    • Ivan Smetankin
    • Judy Hand, Principal The Ann S. Coughlin Chair
    • Kristi Keen The Venita and Roy O. Martin Chair
  • OBOE
    • Leah Forsyth, Principal The Judge & Mrs. F. A. Little, Jr. Chair
    • Phillip Larroque
    • Jan Scott, Principal The Izora Steinschulte Chair
    • Malena McLaren
    • Susan Lauderdale
  • HORN
    • Rod Lauderdale, Principal The Jane W. Smith Chair
    • Mark Melancon, Assistant Principal The Irma Hathorn Davis Chair
    • James Boldin
    • Kristine Coriel
    • David Scott, Principal The Eloise & Howard Mulder Chair
    • Paul Morton
    • Ricky Peters
    • William Rose, Principal
    • Kenneth Clark
    • Ernest Bott
  • TUBA
    • Brian Gallion, Principal
    • Ken Green, Principal The Noel T. Simmonds Chair
    • Greg Lyons, Co-Principal The Bindursky Family Chair
    • Chialing Hsieh The Florence Crowell Chair
  • HARP
    • Deborah Goppelt The Juliet E. Hardtner Chair