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Photograph of Charles McDaniel, Symphony Orchestra Of Albuquerque Producer

Symphony Producer, Charles McDaniel earned two Bachelors Degrees (History and English) with a double major in music, and two Masters Degrees (Music and Comparative Literature). In 2004, He completed his Doctorate from Trinity Southwest University in Theology and Music.

Charles studied piano with Michael Mauldin, Rita Angel and Myung-Hee Chung. He has performed many piano concerts here in New Mexico as well as Kansas, Washington, and California. Charles is pleased to have performed many times with the Symphony, including such works as Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd Piano Concerti, Tchaikovsky's 1st Concerto, Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and Liszt's "Totentanz."

2017-11-22 In 1997, Charles founded the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque and has been producer since that time. The business has expanded to include the ABQ Academy of the Arts, and Symphony Adult and Youth choirs which are part of the "Symphonic Endeavors Corporation."

Simon Rowland is a full time music student at the University of Leeds in Great Britain and is currently taking his study abroad year at the University of New Mexico. Simon began conducting at the age of 16, studying under Ewa Strusinska at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, while simultaneously serving as Associate Conductor of a community orchestra.

As a student at the University of Leeds, Simon conducted the Leeds University Union Music Societies Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of Eduardo Portal. His conducting repertoire includes such large works as: Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony, Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony, and Elgar's Enigma Variations.

At the University of New Mexico where Simon is under the tutelage of conductor Jorge Perez-Gomez, he has served as guest conductor for the ensemble "Musicians for Musicians" and is currently Assistant Conductor of the UNM Health Sciences Center Orchestra.

When not conducting, Simon is an accomplished orchestral violist and has performed difficult repertoire such as: Mahler's 2nd and 5th Symphonies, Shostakovich's 5th and 10th Symphonies, and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.

If you would like to find out more about Simon or contact him, visit


Shutong Li, Conductor - After 4 years` study of industrial engineering in China, Shutong determined to follow his late-developed passion for music. Then he came to the University of New Mexico and started it all over again for music. Now he is working on a master`s degree in orchestral conducting with Dr. Jorge Perez-Gomez as his mentor. Shutong has assisted UNM String Orchestra for a year, and is now serving as the assistant conductor of UNM Health Science Centers Orchestra!

In 2017 fall, Shutong formed his own orchestra and organized a totally student-run opera project, in which over 60 amazing local artists were involved. They did the whole Magic Flute in a concert style and gave two wonderful performances in town. Recently he was appointed to direct the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque (SOA) and SOA Chorus for their annual Christmas concert! 

Shutong believes that the whole of life goes into music. In order to give back more to music, his lifetime goal is to become both a better musician and a fuller human being. If you can help Shutong be of a better service to both the musicians and the music, please contact him via or

Lionel Melendez (Lonnie) - Choral Conductor, is from Roswell, New Mexico. He moved to Albuquerque during his ninth-grade year, and he graduatd from Manzano High School. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Choral Conducting and Church Music from Canyon University. He also holds a Mastor of Arts Degree in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisana. Lionel has been a Director of Activities at the Baptist Children's Home in San Antonio, Texas as well as Mental Health Tech at UNM Children's Psychiatric Hospital. He has also served as the Minister of Music in Southern Baptist Churches in Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Lonnie began as Minister of Music at Alameda Baptist Church in July 2012 and is a full-time Special Education Math Teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter, Danielle, and a grand-daughter, Jovi.

Bethany Herrera, SopranoBethany Herrera, Soprano, is currently pursuing a B.M. in Vocal Performance at Texas Tech University where she studies with Dr. Rebecca Wascoe-Hays. Her operatic roles include Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, Amore in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Aninka in Brundibár. Bethany is a two-year alum of the Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera and has been a soloist with Opera Southwest, the Lubbock Chorale, Texas Tech University Choir, Texas Tech University Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Community Orchestra. She also attended the summer program, Music in the Marche, in Mondavio, Italy. In February 2018 she will be performing a role in the World Premier Opera Bless Me Ultima with Opera Southwest. Most recently, Bethany placed 2nd in the New Mexico District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. When Bethany is not singing, she is backpacking or hiking in the mountains.

Steve Herrera, ConductorSteve Herrerais Director of Worship at St John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque. His work in fulltime ministry over the last 37 years has positioned him as a national keynote speaker and concert artist. With a BFA in Music Composition at University of Albuquerque and UNM, as well as Jazz Arranging studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Steve has composed/produced over 400 children’s songs and stories, and completed the music soundtrack for the Bible for the world’s largest producer of the audio Bible: Faith Comes By Hearing. His soundtrack for the New Testament is now being heard in over 1000 languages. His years as a composer and recording artist and producer has earned him a place as a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences: The Grammys. “This Symphony is truly a family,” he says, and he hopes to bring his “molto espressivo” to our community. And, he declares, a major highlight of his career is conducting the symphony as the accompaniment to his daughter, Bethany!


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