The Atlanta University Center-wide Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1997 to unify musical scholarship across three historic undergraduate institutions in Atlanta, Georgia  – Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College.

AUCSO is a central space for young classical musicians to learn, rehearse and perform classical music. With 30+ other instrumentalists, students learn what it means to play in a large ensemble, applying the music theory and ear training  understanding that harmony is a product of maturing skill, consistent planning and collegial bonds.  

In AUCSO, students study a variety of styles and periods. AUCSO centers the works of Black composers and offers exposure to what are considered canonical works, while also challenging the notion of a canon. Though classical music bears the stigma of racialization and esotericism, classical music is a familiar tune to Black people. Through AUCSO’s performances and educational programming, both students and audiences can discover that classical music is an expansive and enduring part of Black identity. AUCSO traces the lineage of classical music within Black culture, illustrates its relevance in contemporary music, and opens up the possibilities of its future. 

AUCSO cultivates students’ connection with orchestral music at every level, from casual appreciation, to in-depth learning, and to professional pursuits in the field. Students are viewed as whole persons, with interests and needs beyond acquiring superior musicianship. One of the major goals of current director, Ezra Haugabrooks, is for students to graduate with a plan that sustains their passion for playing, expands their network of musical colleagues and establishes a foundation for economic stability. He strongly believes that the skills necessary to succeed in life can be cultivated through the experience of contributing to and learning within a musical community like AUCSO.

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Playing with the AUCSO takes students beyond learning technique and mechanics. They learn the art of developing a career in music by working with professional musicians.

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Our Conductors

  • Ezra Haugabrooks

    Ezra Haugabrooks is an American-born conductor and composer of African-American and Jamaican descent. He began playing piano at the age of three and performing piano accompaniment with his father, Charles Haugabrooks, at the age of seven.  

    At age 10, after begging his mother for an instrument, Haugabrooks began to take violin lessons and playing in the school orchestra. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music in viola performance from Andrews University in 2008. He has studied with Igor Fedotov and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, among other notable instructors and is continuing graduate studies at Georgia State University with Tania Maxwell-Clements. Haugabrooks has performed with members of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rachel Barton Pine, and others in private chamber series in Minnesota as well as in numerous private chamber recitals. His participation at these delightful events has been in a variety of roles as a violist, counter-tenor, tenor, conductor, and pianist.   

    Education should have a significant function in a child’s formative years, and the Haugabrooks family consistently provided this support for him. This resulted in connecting a profound personal responsibility to education and robust performances. A passionate pedagogue, Haugabrooks has taught as a viola instructor, general music, substitute teacher in a general classroom, orchestra at all levels, middle school band, elementary and middle school chorus.  

    In 2017, Haugabrooks founded the Ballet and Dance Orchestra. With the intent to perform music for companies, his vision was to offer an alternative for organizations to be able to use live performances of both original and well-beloved orchestral selections, respecting and recognizing the musicianship of local professional artists while still making it accessible to the public. The Ballet and Dance Orchestra, Inc. seeks to be the first of its kind to pursue this vision and perform for major shows. Peter London Dance Company and the Ballet and Dance Orchestra collaborated this past December in an exciting new work called “Black Men Crossing”. Haugabrooks composed and conducted the score with ten company dancers at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. In addition to performing and directing the Atlanta University Center Orchestra, Haugabrooks has been re-engaged for three more performances with Peter London in 2020. He is also a board member of the American Viola Society.

    Outside of the world of music, Haugabrooks is a single father to his beautiful son, Noah Haugabrooks. He enjoys spending free time discovering springs and exploring nature with his son.

    • ehaugabrooks@cau.edu
    • (321) 693-5704
  • Dr. Roumena Georgieva

    Dr. Roumena Georgieva is an accomplished violinist with an international solo performing career spanning five decades. At the age of 23, she became the youngest female Concertmaster with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. She also held the position of Concertmaster and Soloist with the famous Ladies’ Chamber Orchestra of Bulgaria, and toured many times with both orchestras in throughout Europe, as well as performing as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Rome, Milan, Berlin, Leipzig, and Thessalonica. Since her arrival in the United States in 1997, Dr. Georgieva has performed as Assistant Concertmaster with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra in Chicago, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the Paducah Symphony Orchestra in Kentucky, the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and as a Concertmaster with the Georgia State University Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta. Dr. Georgieva’s chamber ensemble performances have also crossed continental and cultural barriers, as she has led the String Quartet of the National Academy of Music and the String Quartet of the National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bulgaria, the String Quartet of the New Conservatory of Thessalonica in Greece, and the Violin Duo, Piano Quartet, and neoPhonia New Music Trio Ensemble at Georgia State University. Her solo recitals with piano at Lake Forest College in Chicago, Reinhardt College in North Georgia, Emory University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Georgia State University in Atlanta were noted for their introduction of new and experimental music alongside more traditional pieces. The broadcasts of her performances with the Spelman College Glee Club in 2004, 2006, 2008,2011 ,2016, and her performance for the 2013 Allen Awards on AIB TV and Planet Atlanta on Peoples TV 2017, reached even more diverse audiences. Dr. Georgieva has performed regularly with Americolor Opera Alliance since 2008. The noted Composer Dr. Sharon Willis dedicated to Dr. Georgieva her “Spirit Suite “for Violin and Piano in 2014.Dr. Georgieva performed the “Spirit Suite” in the International Music by Women Festival on March 2, 2018 at the Mississippi University of Women. The young African-American composer Brittney Boykin also dedicated to Dr.Georgieva her work” Roumieva” for violin and piano on January 2018.

    Dr. Georgieva’s awards and honors span from her winning the prestigious Grand Prize for Young Bulgarian Violinists at the age of 10, to being a Permanent Juror on the Committee for the Awards and Scholarships with the Atlanta Chapter of the American Federation of Musicians. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society a member of Delta Kappa Gamma International Honor Society for Key Women Educators a member of MAMA, and a member of American Association of Pen Women. Her career as a performer is paralleled with her distinguished teaching profession, which she started in 1978 as an Adjunct Professor at the National Academy of Music in Sofia. She continued on the faculty there until 1990, when she accepted a position at the New Conservatory of Thessalonica. Since arriving in the United States, she has taught at Elmhurst College (Chicago ), Reinhardt College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College in Atlanta. In 2005, Dr. Georgieva received an invitation to become Director of the Atlanta University Center Symphony Orchestra, which is comprised of students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. In September 2007 Dr. Georgieva published her book “Method and Methodology of Violin Training in the Beginning of the 21st Century,” which clarifies the health and performance benefits for string players using the Alexander Technique. At 2008 and 2009 Clark Atlanta University published chapters five and six from her book. The revised first chapter of the same

    book, was published at the International Journal of Arts and Sciences, Volume 4, February 20, 2018

    Dr. Georgieva holds a PhD in Musicology and Musical Art from the National Academy of Music, in Sofia, Bulgaria; Master of Music and Arts from the National Academy of Music, Sofia ,Bulgaria, a Master of Music Performance from Georgia State University, Bachelor of Music Performance from the Professional School of Music, Sofia, Bulgaria, and Alexander Technique training at London. England. She has taken master classes with Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szering, David Oistrakh, Leonid Cogan, Sergei Krilov, Vladimir Spivakov, Shlomo Minz, Niccolas Szabadi, and William Preucil.

    Dr. Georgieva has three children, a son and twin daughters.

  • Dr. Alfred Duckett

    Alfred Duckett, a native of Greenville, SC, attended Hillcrest High School and the Greenville Fine Arts Center where he developed a love for music and the arts.  Upon graduation, he studied at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.  Subsequently, he received degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (BM), Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory of Music (MM), and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America (DMA).  He also studied chamber music at Bowdoin International Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival and the Festival at Sandpoint, where he was chosen twice by Gunther Schuller to be a fellowship conductor and conducted the Spokane Symphony in a performance of Schuller’s Seven Studies of Themes of Paul Klee.

    Dr. Duckett’s professional and academic experiences are richly diverse. He has served as Chair and Associate Professor of Music at Jackson State University, Jackson, MS; Chair and Associate Professor of Music; Cameron University, Lawton, OK; Visiting Chair and Professor of Music, Allen University, Columbia, SC; Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Associate Professor of Music, St. Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC; Founder, General Manager, and Music Director/Conductor of the Atlanta University Center Orchestra; Director of Fine Arts, School District of Greenville County, Greenville, SC; Associate Professor/Director of Orchestral Studies at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY ; Music Director/Conductor of the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra, Belleville, IL; and Assistant Professor/Director of Orchestral Studies at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.   He’s had professional residences at New York University, where he twice served as Scholar in Residence and at the The South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities, where he spent several summers as a Master Teacher. 

    Among the orchestras Alfred Duckett has conducted are: Baltimore Chamber Orchestra; Greenville Symphony Orchestra; Washington (D.C) Summer Opera; Gateways Festival Orchestra, Rochester, New York; the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, the Atlanta Community Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.