Our Mission

The mission of the Albany Symphony Association is to enrich the quality of life in southwest Georgia by providing and promoting symphonic music through the organization, development and support of a symphony orchestra and related educational, artistic, and diverse cultural activities.

Music Director & Conductor

Claire Fox Hillard Albany Symphony Orchestra Director

Claire Fox Hillard was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Albany Symphony Orchestra in 1988. He is an Associate Professor at Albany State University and additionally serves as conductor for the Gulf Coast Steinway Society Concerto Competition. Hillard previously served as Music Director of the St. Joseph Symphony (MO), the Missouri Western Philharmonia, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestras (MS), and as Music Advisor to the Cobb Symphony Orchestra. He previously also served on the faculty at Indiana State University and Missouri Western State University.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Hillard began piano and violin studies at an early age and made his conducting debut at the age of 18. At age 25, after earning his masters and doctoral degrees from The University of Iowa, he became one of the youngest conductors to be appointed the Music Director of a professional orchestra. He received training from several notable conductors of our time including James Dixon, Leonard Slatkin, Pierre Boulez, Maurice Abravanel, Jorge Mester, and John Barnett. Maestro Hillard is the recipient of the League of American Orchestra’s distinguished Helen M. Thompson Award. Georgia Trend Magazine has honored him as one of the “outstanding leaders in Georgia.” The Meridian Council for the Arts honored Hillard with its Artist’s Achievement Award and he has been awarded a Dream Award from Albany’s annual King Celebration. Hillard currently serves as Vice-President and Treasurer of the International Conductors Guild; he is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority; and has served as a music panelist for the Georgia Council for the Arts.

ASO Officers

Honorable W. Louis Sands

Dawn Benson
Immediate Past-President

Ben Roberts
Vice President

Russ Allen

Richard Danne

ASO Staff

Claire Fox Hillard
Music Director & Conductor

LeeAnna Anglin
General Manager

Dr. Marc Boensel
Orchestra Operations Manager

ASO Board of Directors

Judge W. Louis Sands Gil Moura Marcia M. Hood Jennifer Bode Judith Hampton-Thompson
Rushton Allen Ben Roberts Richard Danne Christina Shepherd Dawn Benson