NSU alumnus honored to have chance to conduct orchestra


Things have now gone full circle for Brian Coatney. Just a few years ago, he was an aspiring music educator at Northwestern State and next week, he will return as a guest conductor of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current I.D.

Dr. Douglas Bakenhus is music director of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. Jolie Gonzalez Masmela is graduate assistant conductor.

Coatney, director of orchestral studies at Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas, will be guest conductor leading the orchestra in a performance of the second and fourth movements of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.”

Coatney, a 2001 summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern State, has conducted some of Texas’ top high school orchestras. His orchestras have won numerous awards including Texas State Honor Orchestra in 2011 and 2014 with him as head director and as a staff member in 2006 and 2008.

“This is an incredible honor and I am extremely humbled to conduct the Symphony,” said Coatney. “I am anticipating that it will be a fun and invigorating experience. Tchaikovsky is the composer that speaks to me the most and his 5th Symphony is my absolute favorite. I can’t wait to bring this work to life and create music that will inspire the audience.”

Coatney credited current faculty Christine Allen, Jeff Matthews, and Bill Brent along with former faculty George Adams, Richard Rose, Scott York with “giving me the skills and inspiration to accomplish my hopes and dreams.”

“I received a fantastic education at Northwestern State and I am excited to give back to an institution that gave me so much,” said Coatney. “I have so many amazing memories from my time at Northwestern State and I hope that I can return the favor to the current students.”

The orchestra will also perform “Academic Festival Overture” by Johannes Brahms, “Ouverture a Grand Orchestre” by Anton Reicha, a movement from Beethovemn’s “Symphony No. 3” and “Candide: Overture” by Leonard Bernstein.