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Meet the Symphony

Dr. Thomas Heuser, Music Director

Meet the Conductor

American conductor Thomas Heuser has been widely recognized for his stirring leadership and energetic presence both onstage and in the community. He has served as Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony since 2011, and he is also Music Director of the San Juan Symphony, a regional professional orchestra based in Durango, Colorado, and Farmington, New Mexico. Thomas lives in scenic Durango with his wife, violinist Lauren Avery, and their eight-year-old son Theodore.

Dr. Heuser was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for Orchestral Conducting in Germany while serving as a Conducting Fellow with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His Fulbright residency at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München included orchestral performances in Munich and Berlin and his European operatic debut with Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland. Moving from Munich to San Francisco, Thomas enjoyed three seasons as the Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, working alongside members of the San Francisco Symphony.

After conducting a successful Mid-Winter concert with the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming, Thomas was invited back as a Cover Conductor for Sir Donald Runnicles and the 2022 GTMF Festival Orchestra. He has been a regular guest conductor with Durango’s Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, and served as guest conductor for the top ensembles of the 2020 All-State Festival Orchestras in Alabama and New Mexico. Among a variety of diverse engagements, Thomas has given subscription concert debut performances with the Lexington Philharmonic, Symphony New Hampshire, the Boise Baroque Orchestra, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Illinois, Wyoming, Bozeman, Missoula, Flagstaff, Vallejo, Grand Junction, and Portsmouth Symphony Orchestras, among others.

The son of two molecular biologists at Washington University in St. Louis, Thomas began violin lessons at an early age and studied piano at the St. Louis Symphony Music School. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College as a piano performance major and earned his Masters in Instrumental Conducting (MM) from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2013 he completed his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting (DMA) from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. His primary conducting mentors include Paavo Järvi, Bruno Weil, Mark Gibson, Thomas Baldner, David Effron, Marin Alsop, David Robertson, Gustav Meier, and Larry Rachleff.

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Meet the Musicians


  • Emma Rubinstein, Concertmaster
    Chair Sponsor Jacob Grant Property Management
  • Ariel Loveland, Principal Second Violin
    Chair Sponsor Melanie & Steve Smith
  • Natalie Burr
  • Abby Clay
  • Jessica Cooley
  • Elisabeth Cutler
  • D’Lynne Esplin
  • Dallin Hansen
  • Doug Hansen
  • Kelley Johnson
  • Annalee Kelly
  • Cait LaPorte
  • AnnJanette McMurtrey
  • Shannon Packer
  • Cassie Pulley
  • Laurana Wheeler-Roderer
  • Carli Salas
  • Mimi Scofield
  • Marinda Squires
  • Tonya Summers
  • Marianne Walck
  • Laura Wanek
  • Jenni Warner
  • Karen D. Wright


  • Lisa McNiven, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Pat & Linda Neeley
  • Melissa Dayley
  • Kristina Horrocks
  • Candice Hurley
  • Julie Jacobson
  • Sarah Puzey
  • Marta Smith


  • Karen Bechtel, Acting Principal
    Chair Sponsor Patricia Scott & Myrna Taylor
  • Karen Beck
  • Eleanor Christman Cox
  • Heather Clarke
  • David Clay
  • John Connelly
  • Christine Hutchings
  • Michelle Gibbs
  • Amanda Poitevin
  • Robert Tueller


  • Aaron Miller, PrincipalChair Sponsor Steve & Jackie Larsen
  • Joey Henson, sub principal
  • Marty Camino
  • David Mitchell
  • Briana Schmidt
  • Lawrence Stone


  • Nadine Luke, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Brett & Seleta Talbot
  • June Cannon
  • Kristi Ballif
  • Kelsey Larsen
  • Susan Thomas


  • Kristen Bull, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Abigail Martin
  • Rachel Thackeray
  • Diane Soelberg


  • Adam Ballif, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Chesbro Music Co.
  • Larry Reeder
  • Karen E. Wright


  • Kevin Young, Principal.  Chair Sponsor Steve & Jackie Larsen
  • Casey Emerson
  • Eric Skidmore


  • Elizabeth Crawford, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Sue Rope
  • Jan Eddington
  • Caitlyn Falco
  • Luke Pfeil
  • Sue Rope

French Horn*

  • Jon Klein, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Steve & Kathy McDonald
  • Jason Bull
  • Doran Davis
  • Rebecca Klein
  • Colleen Story
  • Kamber Turner


  • Andrew Allphin, Principal
  • Roger Evans
  • Trevor Lewis
  • Eddie Ludema
  • Dean Scofield


  • Bryce Mecham, Principal                     Chair Sponsor Candace Mitcham
  • Rachel Emerson, Bass
  • Bill Phoenix
  • Nick Warmuth


  • William Smith, Principal                        Chair Sponsor Jerry & Ann Shively


  • Kevin Meyer, Acting Principal Percussion Chair Sponsor Elevated Life Chiropractic, Dr. Randy Searle
  • Zach Singer, Principal Timpani
  • Thaddeus Ferrin
  • Jake Snarr
  • Adrian Rosales


  • Stephen Thomas, Principal                  Chair Sponsor Kathleen Burggraf
  • Daniel Kerr, Organ
  • Jessica Murdock
  • Claire Thueson


  • Alicia McQuay, Principal
    Chair Sponsor Daniel Devasirvatham


  • Craig Green
*Section seating rotates

Meet the Executive Director

Executive Director

Carrie Athay

Carrie Athay grew up in a family that moved often, traveling and experiencing the cultural arts around the world. Hearing and seeing amazing works through her life, she grew to understand the important role that the arts play in our lives and local communities. The idea that music, history, and art can cross boundaries and help us communicate on emotional levels has helped fuel her drive to build connections in the nonprofit sector in our area.

Carrie studied Humanities and Anthropology at Brigham Young University and has a master’s degree in Museum Studies emphasizing 19th Century American Studies from George Washington University. She has worked for several museums and nonprofits throughout her career, focusing on building community through shared connections.

As the Executive Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony, Carrie works to build bridges and connect us all through the intertwining of our hearts as we experience live orchestral music together. She has a passion for the cultural arts and believes that we thrive as communities when we experience the beautiful textures around us; specifically the textures of Idaho, as seen through our people, cultural arts, and natural surroundings.

Carrie and her husband William are parents to three amazing children. They love to spend time running, hiking and biking through Idaho while enjoying the thriving cultural arts our community has to offer.

Meet Our Staff


Marni Buer
Audience Experience Manager

Heather Clarke


Christine Hutchings
     Music Director, Youth Symphony       Conductor, Preparatory Strings Orchestra

Annalee Kelly
             Music Director, Philharmonia              Conductor, Preparatory Strings Orchestra 

Melanie Mallard
 Education and Outreach Manager


Camila Balthazar
Digital Media and Library Manager

Marta Smith
Orchestra Manager

Meet Our Board of Directors

Idaho Falls Symphony Society Governing Board 2023-2024

Kim Carpenter, President       Jake Durtschi, Past President
Alice R. Pike, Vice President      Judy Brower, Treasurer
Dean Scofield, Secretary 
  • Todd Combs
  • Gabe Davis
  • Elan Eddington
  • Mary Lynn Hartwell
  • Nicholas Manning 
  • Warren Maxfield 
  • Michaela Morgan 
  • Linda Neeley
  • John Radford
  • Gina Stevenson 
  • Amy Taylor
  • Ann Traynor 
  • Kevin Young 
Director Emeritus
  • Ann Howell
  • Dr. Arthur Kull
  • Jackie Larson
  • Sharon Price
  • Anne Staton Voillequé
Orchestra Reps
  • Rachel Emerson
  • D'Lynne Esplin
  • Cassie Pulley
  • Kamber Turner