On top of directing the Trinity University Symphony Orchestra, Carlisle also teaches a music theory class at Trinity and is the assistant music director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in downtown San Antonio. Photo by Aidan Kirksey.

There is a new face on the podium for the Trinity University Symphony Orchestra. Atlanta native Ben Carlisle is taking over for Kenneth Greene as orchestra director.

Carlisle graduated from Sewanee with a Bachelor of Arts in music and then continued on in Sewanee’s graduate music program.

After completing the program, Carlisle took a job at Grinnell College in Iowa.

When a position at Trinity opened up, Carlisle jumped at the opportunity, moving his wife, who now works in the English department, and their three-week-old son to San Antonio.

“One of the things that separates Trinity’s orchestra from others is the circumstance of geography. Being in a city such as San Antonio with its own symphony, we’re not at all bound to deliver entertainment to a town audience,” Carlisle said. “The orchestra exists for the orchestra; we can play music we want to play.”

Trinity’s orchestra is small and flexible, Carlisle said, so he will be able to “focus primarily on the exact core of the orchestra repertory.”

The orchestra will be tackling Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”, Mussorgsky’s “Night on Ball Mountain” and Arturo Márquez’s “Danzón No. 2”.

“These are big pieces and they are challenging,” Carlisle said. “Students can’t believe we’re getting to play these works.”

Carlisle has other plans for the orchestra besides building their repertoire, such as making the orchestra build more camaraderie and become more accessible.

“I think I want to work on making this ensemble more open to members – to more than just music students,” Carlisle said. “I don’t want to make it less rigorous, but everyone who plays an instrument is welcome.”

Although the orchestra is a course that can be taken for credit, Carlisle does not want the orchestra to be limited to education.

“I don’t want it to feel like a class,” he said. “We want to have fun too.”