ABOUT THE SOCIETY
The Pasadena Philharmonic Society now in its 38th year promotes classical music in the southeastern area of the greater Houston metropolis known as Bay Area, which includes the cities of Pasadena, Deer Park, South Houston, Galena Park, Morgan’s Point, Shore Acres, Taylor Lake Village, La Porte and the parts of the Clear Lake Area of south Houston.
The Society is a non-profit organization, which supports an orchestra, composed of professional players, music teachers from the public school, college students and selected public school students. The Society strives to provide a unique cultural outreach to this population while promoting cultural education, musical study, and performance. The Society is active in support of community events.
The Pasadena Philharmonic Society is composed of volunteers and consists of a Board of Trustees. It supports a Musical Director and two part-time support staff and provides stipends to selected orchestra members.
JAMES PARK – MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR
James Park is well known as a choral music educator in the greater Houston area, but teaching choir was not his original plan after college. He likes to joke that after he got his first job teaching middle school choir, they just kept paying him to come back, so he did. But in reality, he learned pretty quickly that he truly enjoyed being a choir director, mentor, and teacher. He taught middle and high school choir in Kingwood for over a decade before taking over the renowned choir program at Clear Creek High School in League City in 2012.
But while Mr. Park’s background is in the choral arts, most of his formal training is in the world of orchestras. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from Ithaca College in Central New York State and has completed additional training at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and the University of Houston. In his Master’s studies in Orchestra Conducting, he studied primarily with Grant Cooper, now the Music Director of the West Virginia Symphony. Additional conducting studies were with Janet Galván (choir), Beverly Patton (music theater and opera), and Stephen Peterson (wind ensemble) as well as studies in vocal performance, music theory, and composition. Outside of formal studies, Mr. Park has participated in workshops or classes with Robert Shaw, Frederick Prausnitz, Ken Kiesler, Gustav Meier, Frank Battisti, Donald Hunsberger, Donald Portnoy, Samuel Jones, and Stephen Paulus.
Mr. Park has lived most of his life in Houston, graduating from Alief Hastings High School on the west side of town, working and living in Kingwood on the north side, and now living in Clear Lake City with his wife Fran Koiner, who is a local freelance cellist and private teacher, and their two daughters, aged 7 and 4. He has been honored with numerous teaching awards including being named the Teacher of the Year on two different campuses, awarded an Humble ISD Award of Commendation, given Honorary Lifetime Membership in the Texas Parent-Teacher Association, and named a Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction by the Coca Cola Foundation. He has also conducted high school festival honor orchestras and choirs in Texas and New York, and he has prepared his choirs to sing with the Kingwood Chorale and Orchestra (Carmina Burana) and the Houston Symphony (Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand, pops concert with The Chieftains, and family concerts titled “Under the Sea” and “Aladdin and the Arabian Nights”).
Mr. Park is thrilled to assume his newest role as the Conductor and Music Director of the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra, an orchestra with a rich history in the area and a legacy of meaningful community-based musical performance. In partnership with the Board of Directors and players in the orchestra, he looks forward to rebuilding the orchestra’s outreach in the community through quality music performed at a high level while concurrently working to reestablish a strong relationship with local educators, area school music programs, and music-playing and music-loving community members.
The orchestra, which consists of approximately 50 members, presents three major performances each year. A wide variety of music is selected and local artists are often featured in solo performance. Selected high school students are invited to play with the orchestra and grants are regularly given to students who demonstrate a talent and interest in music to support their continued study. Many of the members of the orchestra hold music degrees and have performed in other professional or collegiate orchestras.