image of Scott Terrell

Scott Terrell

Virginia Martin Howard Associate Professor
Director of Orchestral Studies

204 School of Music
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-2504



American conductor Scott Terrell has built a major conducting career through imaginative programs, an engaging presence, and a determined passion for artistic excellence and viability.  An ardent champion of new music and diversity of repertoire, he was a visionary leader with a keen intellect for bringing context to the concert hall. Adept in a broad range of repertoire from masterworks of orchestral canon, new commissions, opera, and works beyond the mainstream, this American conductor can, as critics have noted, “program works that entertain and educate, innovate with new works and revitalize the old.”

In great demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Terrell has recently lead orchestras worldwide including the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Columbia, Baltimore Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá (Colombia), Fort Worth Symphony and re-engagements with Arizona Opera, and the Rochester Philharmonic.  Maestro Terrell debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra in an all-Gershwin program in 2017, along with the St. Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Vancouver Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He has been on the cover conductor staff of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012, assisting Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin and regularly leading their pre-concert lectures.

Maestro Terrell has led many prestigious international organizations including Opera Colorado, Opera Hong Kong, Colorado Symphony, Arizona Opera, Hamilton Philharmonic, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Milwaukee Symphony, Spoleto Festival, Naples Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, Richmond Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, and El Paso Opera.  He has been a regular guest conductor and teacher at the Aspen Music Festival since 2001, leading various concert programs as well mentoring and teaching conducting students.

Having a strong affinity for vocal and operatic repertoire, Maestro Terrell has led a wealth of projects abroad.  Upcoming opera engagements include Virgil Thompson’s A Mother of Us All at the Aspen Music Festival, and Carmen at Opera Idaho in 2021. Collaborations with Kentucky Opera have included Stephen Paulus’ oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar.  Operatic engagements have included Opera Hong Kong gala concerts of Bernstein, and Arizona Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.  He conducted Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires at Fort Worth Opera, Aspen Music Festival and Arizona Opera as well as Aspen’s concert productions of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Missy Mazzoli’s groundbreaking work, Proving Up. 

Mr. Terrell was Music Director of the Lexington Philharmonic for a transformative decade (2009-2019) in the organization’s history.  He re-invigorated and raised the artistic level of the ensemble, diversified programming, expanded collaborations, and increased community support. He created and endowed both a Composer-in-Residence and an Artist-in-Residence chair.  Composers commissioned have included Daniel Thomas-Davis, Daniel Kellogg, Adam Schoenberg, Avner Dorman, and Chris Brubeck.  The orchestra was awarded numerous Copland Awards, highlighting his ongoing commitment to contemporary American composers such as Missy Mazzoli, Jennifer Higdon, Gabriela Franck, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, John Adams, Michael Gandolfi, Philip Glass, Mason Bates, Roberto Sierra, Christopher Theofanidis, Osvaldo Golijov, and Chris Brubeck.  The orchestra was also broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today for the first time in its history during his tenure.

Previously, Maestro Terrell served as Resident Conductor and Director of Education for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and prior to that was Assistant Conductor of Minnesota Orchestra.  A native of Michigan, Maestro Terrell is a graduate of Western Michigan University, and the University of Minnesota in orchestral conducting.  In 2000, Terrell was chosen as a fellowship conductor for the inaugural season of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival under Music Director, David Zinman.  He has participated in master classes with such distinguished conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and David Robertson.  At Aspen, he was awarded the prestigious Conducting Prize from David Zinman, an award recognizing exemplary musicianship and promise.