RSO welcomes Linc Smelser as new youth symphony conductor

Staff Report

Linc Smelser has been chosen as Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra’s (RSYO) conductor.

Smelser resides in DeKalb, Ill., where he is conductor/music director of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty with Northern Illinois University Music Department, where he is also conductor of the NIU Youth Sinfonia and Symphonette. He is also professor of cello at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Smelser was awarded Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Arts Council in 2009.

In addition to teaching and conducting, Smelser is an accomplished cellist and is a member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and an active substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He was principal cellist of the RSO from 1990 to 1998. A native of Arizona, he earned his bachelor of music from the University of Arizona. He later earned a master of music in performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University.

I’m absolutely delighted to have Linc Smelser as RSYO’s new conductor,” said RSO Music Director Steven Larsen. “Linc is not just a talented and experienced conductor, with years of experience leading both youth and adult orchestras, he is a top-notch cellist and pianist who plays regularly under some of the world’s greatest conductors, and a respected teacher.”

The RSYO has provided quality orchestral training for young people in the region for more than four decades. Founded in 1969 by Donald Zimmerman, the RSYO continues to operate under the auspices of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. RSYO is composed of approximately 60 students from all across northern Illinois who have a love of classical music and a desire to improve their skills while performing as an ensemble. The ensemble rehearses weekly and performs for the public throughout the year.

For more about the RSYO, including audition details, visit

From the July 30-Aug. 5, 2014, issue

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