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The GLSO will play a central role in enhancing the quality of life, education and cultural fabric of Greater Lowell. We envision a professional orchestra that is completely focused on celebrating and connecting communities.







Thomas Kociela - Music Director

Thomas is currently Music Director of the Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra, and the Parkway Concert Orchestra.  From 2019-2023 he was Music Director and Conductor of the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the Resident Score Reader and Video Director for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position which involves collaborating with BSO artistic administration and assistant conductors to prepare scores for video capture during live performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and visiting ensembles.  Most recently, Thomas was Assistant Conductor of the Temecula Valley Symphony and Music Director of the Temecula Valley Youth Symphony in California.  He is also a frequent guest conductor.  Recent engagements include the Mississippi Valley Symphony Orchestra, Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra, Etchings Festival, Rhode Island College Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln-Sudbury Civic Orchestra and Indian Hill Music Youth Orchestras.  

While Music Director at the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra for four seasons, Thomas is grateful to have collaborated with Philharmonic Board President Bonnie McIsaac.  Together with the wonderful musicians and supportive board, they revitalized the orchestra, making it a significant aspect of the arts, education and culture landscape in Lowell.  Thomas created More Than Self, A Tribute to the Nurses, Doctors and Staff at Lowell General Hospital for the Lowell community during the pandemic.  Support from civic leaders such as Lori Trahan – U.S. Congresswoman, Eileen Donoghue – Lowell City Manager, John Leahy – Mayor City of Lowell, Rita Mercier – Lowell City Councilor and Former Mayor, Jacqueline Moloney – Chancellor UMass Lowell, Dave Heller – Former Owner & CEO of the Lowell Spinners —among others, made this special possible and wide reaching.  Featured were works by Florence Price, Katharine Lee Bates, and Thomas A. Dorsey.  This tribute special was featured by the League of American Orchestras as well as the International Conductors Guild.  Other highlights include: collaborating with Ernie Boch Jr. and his daughter Kelsey Boch, featuring UMass Lowell Piano Faculty Jacob Hiser as soloist, featuring Greek dancers from the Hellenic American Academy, initiating the first ever collaboration of a symphony orchestra with a Cambodian (Khmer) music ensemble along with musicians and dancers from Indra’s Artistic Creations.  Thomas surveyed the Philharmonic audience and musicians to learn of their interests and preferences, and to also discover new ways of making symphonic music relevant to this community.  In June of 2023, Thomas was presented an Official Citation by Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau.  The citation reads in part “Thomas Kociela has fully dedicated himself to bringing people together through music”.

As a performer, Thomas performed as a substitute musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) for seven years.  He has shared the stage with conductors and artists such as Bernard Haitink, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Conlon, Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle DeYoung, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, David Robertson, Sir James Galway, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Sir Mark Elder, Edwin Outwater, Alastair Willis, and Sir Patrick Stewart. Thomas traveled to Carnegie Hall on tour with the CSO three times, performing under Pierre Boulez and Riccardo Muti – and once to Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor with the CSO. He also performed with the CSO for Festa Muti! A Free Concert for Chicago in Millennium Park (Muti’s first concert as Music Director). Thomas has also performed with the Ars Viva Symphony, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Kenosha Symphony, Racine Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, among others.

While in Chicago, Thomas was the assistant conductor at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and he conducted ensembles at the University of Chicago and the Chicago High School for the Arts. He also served as the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Pathways Neighborhood Ensembles Music Director, designing and implementing ensemble and private lesson programs at underserved schools around Chicago.

Thomas earned a master’s degree in conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts in trombone performance and music education studying under Jay Friedman and Charles Groeling respectively. He currently studies conducting with Neil Varon, Professor of Conducting at the Eastman School of Music and has pursued additional studies and masterclasses with conductor pedagogues Victor Yampolsky, Cristian Măcelaru, Robert Franz, Markand Thakar, David Jacobs, Erin Freeman, and Donald Schleicher

Bonnie McIsaac - Executive Director

Bonnie has an extensive background in orchestral administration including being involved in several musical events of notoriety in Boston. Bonnie studied Music Theory at Regis College with Tim Clark. Her Cantata was performed by The Coast Guard Academy Glee Club and the Regis College Glee Club. As a member of the Regis Glee Club she sang in the chorus of Opera Company of Boston in the Boston premier of Ned Rorem’s opera “Montezuma”.  She stepped down as President of the Board of Directors of the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra after 5 years. Her vision for the LPO was to bring a renewed interest to this well respected and talented community orchestra.

Beginning her career in the orchestral world in 1981 as Production Manager at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, she worked closely with Murray Sidlin, Music Director and Conductor. While at NHSO she had the honor of assisting Marilyn Horne, Pepe Romero, Anne-Sohie Mutter, Juliana Markova and Alicia de Larrocha. Bonnie also had the pleasure of accompanying Itzhak Perlman, via limo, to Pepe’s Pizza – a popular pizza restaurant in New Haven.

In 1984 Bonnie moved to Boston accepting the position of Orchestras Production Manager for the “Making Music Together” Russian Festival held by Sarah Caldwell and The Opera Company of Boston. She organized and produced the rehearsals and concerts held at The Tremont Baptist Temple in Boston and at the Boston Opera House. She supported Seiji Ozawa and notable Russian composers and conductors at the time including Alfred Schnittke, Dimitri Pokrovsky, Karen Chachaturian, Sophia Gubaildulina, and Rodion Shchedrin. Artists included pianist Vladimir Feltsman, dancers Prima Ballerina Plisetskay, Asaf Messerer and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Bonnie joined the staff at the New England Conservatory as Administrative Director of Orchestras and Chamber Orchestra. While at NEC she worked for Conductor Pascal Verrot and Carl St. Clair, who both also served as Assistant Conductors of the BSO. In 1987 Bonnie briefly took on the role of acting Executive Director of the Everett J Collins Performing Arts Center in Andover MA working with contemporary artists such as Neil Sedaka and Lorna Luft.

Bonnie has participated in the founding of several Boston orchestras such as the New England Chamber Orchestra – Pascal Van Haeran, Music Director, Lexington Sinfonietta (now Lexington Symphony) Hisao Watanabe, Music Director and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project - Gil Rose, Music Director.

Bonnie McIsaac and Thomas Kociela.jpg

We connect, celebrate and

collaborate with the communities of the

Greater Lowell area through musical programming.

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