The LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra (LSYO) provides rich training and performance opportunities for high-school aged musicians, while the LSYO String Ensemble and String Sprouts serve children 5 to 13 years of age. Aspiring young musicians can pursue their musical dreams with weekly rehearsals, weekly wind sectional rehearsals and monthly string sectional rehearsals.
Directed by professional musicians, we provide these young musicians with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of performing in a symphonic group. Their progress and achievements are showcased at concerts held each fall and spring. Other performance opportunities are provided for small ensembles throughout the year.
Michael Giel, is the Director of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra. He also is Director of Orchestras at Dunwoody High School, has been a high school orchestra director for 16 years and received his Bachelor of Music Performance and Bachelor of Music Education from Valdosta State University, where he was a student of Karin Addis and Matson Topper. In 2008, he completed a Master in Music Education from the University of Georgia. In addition to his extensive classroom experience, Michael is on the faculty of the Atlanta Chamber Music Festival, which provides a comprehensive chamber music-focused experience to pre-college students. Michael also served as the Orchestra Director for the Georgia Governors Honors Program at Valdosta State University from 2008 to 2014 and has been a clinician for the Dekalb, Fulton, and Cherokee county and Atlanta Public Schools orchestra festivals.
Outside of conducting in the classroom, Michael has also served as the Principal Conductor of Capitol City Opera in Atlanta, GA since 2010 and recently joined the faculty of the California Piano Concerto Festival in 2014 as the Associate Conductor.
As a violist and violinist, he has performed with several orchestras in Georgia and Florida including the Savannah Philharmonic, Gwinnett Philharmonic, Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, Ocmulgee Symphony, Gainesville (GA) Symphony, Albany (GA) Symphony, Coastal Symphony of Georgia, Rome (GA) Symphony, Atlanta Pops Orchestra, Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, Da Salo Solisti Chamber Orchestra, LaGrange Symphony, and the Central Florida Symphony. In the modern music arena, Michael has performed with and for artists such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, Il Volo, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, Evanescence, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Sarah Brightman, Lindsay Stirling, and Il Divo.
Michael is a native of Atlanta and lives in Brookhaven with his wife Catherine who is a concert pianist and the Music Director of Capitol City Opera. In his spare time, Michael is an avid tennis player and outdoor enthusiast.
Sam Lee has been a part of the LaGrange music community since January of 1990 when he played in the first concert of the LaGrange College – Community Orchestra which became the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra later that year. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance from Columbus State University and a Master’s of Music Theory from Georgia State University. He studied violin under Oliver Steiner.
In the Fall of 1996, Mr. Lee began teaching Strings at LaGrange Academy. He is the founding conductor of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra, which originally began under his direction, as an affiliate of the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts, in 1997. He has played in many regional orchestras, including the Columbus Symphony, Carroll Symphony, and LaGrange Symphony, as well as being a regular free-lance musician. Mr. Lee frequently performs as violin/viola soloist, including many engagements with the Choral Society of West Georgia. He currently is the Director of the String Ensemble of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra, and teaches Strings at LaGrange Academy as well as for the LaGrange Symphony Youth String Program.
Mr. Lee is a native of Atlanta and currently resides in East Point, Georgia.
LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra News
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