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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 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 and Conductor, Idaho Falls Symphony Youth Orchestra (IFSYO)

Annalee Kelly
Conductor, Idaho Falls Symphony Preparatory String Orchestra (PSO)

Melanie Mallard
Education and Outreach Manager


Elin Williams Marquez
Orchestra Librarian

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 
  • Gabe Davis
  • Daniel Devasirvatham
  • 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
  • Marni Buer
  • D'Lynne Esplin
  • Cassie Pulley
  • Kamber Turner