Alison Gaines is the Ron Crocker Chair of Orchestra for the University of Nebraska in Kearney, is Assistant Professor of Orchestra and Bass and is the Music Director of the Kearney Symphony Orchestra. She holds a Doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and a Master’s degree from U.S.C. in Los Angeles for bass performance where she also won the Principal Bass stipend for 2 years consecutively and 2 Orchestral Leadership awards. Her professional conducting experience includes music director positions, assistant conductor positions, youth symphonies, and guest conducting of various professional groups including 10 years as conductor of Brass Night and on various chamber concerts at the Breckenridge, CO summer music festival.
Her academic conducting experience includes a year as interim Director of Orchestra at Iowa State and for Rock Valley College, IL and 4 years as conductor of the chamber orchestra at Illinois’ largest 2 year college, the College of DuPage. In addition, she has served as a clinician and guest conductor for music associations throughout the Midwest and for the Chicago Bass Festival. During her doctoral studies she received assistantships from both the orchestral and jazz departments where she worked and studied with British conductor, keyboardist and recording artist Brian Priestman and with jazz educator, arranger and composer Dan Gailey. She has also received fellowships and won positions for conducting seminars through the League of American Orchestras, Chorus America and for the Conductor’s Institutes in both South Carolina (in opera) and at Bard College, NY.
Her experience as a bassist includes a Tanglewood fellowship, New York String Ensemble, Aspen Music Festival and co -principal with the National Repertory Orchestra for 2 summers. She also won a substitute audition with the St. Louis Symphony and served for 8 years as principal bassist of a full-time orchestra. She has also performed chamber music in the United States and in Europe and has been a featured soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, Tulsa Philharmonic, Breckenridge, CO Festival, and Rockford, IL Symphony.