The Lowell Philharmonic is searching for a new music director. Meet our two PHENOMENAL guest conductors who are under consideration.

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Thomas Kociela

May Pops Concert Guest conductor

Thomas was most recently Assistant Conductor of the Temecula Valley Symphony (CA), where he directed the orchestra, chorus, and chamber ensembles in concert.  He was also Music Director of the Temecula Valley Youth Symphony.  Under his direction the orchestra pushed new boundaries and collaborated with ensembles and musicians ranging from women’s chorus, opera singer, electronic track, flute and saxophone duo, student soloists, as well as guest bands and orchestras – with an increased number of community concerts. 

As a performer, Thomas spent seven years as a substitute and extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on trombone, euphonium, and bass trumpet.  While in Chicago, he was the Assistant Conductor at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and directed the brass ensemble at the University of Chicago.

Thomas currently studies conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Marshunda Smith

March Family Concert Conductor


Now in her 13th year of being a New England resident, Marshunda Smith hails from Tennessee, and she comes from a family tradition of music. She started playing cello in 6th grade because of a teenage crush but ended up falling in love with the cello instead.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Marshunda began teaching at a local high school. It was there that she discovered a love of conducting and teaching music!

 So inspired, she embarked on finding a Master’s degree program in Orchestral Conducting that closely embodied her approach to music. She completed her Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting with an emphasis in Music Education at the University of Southern Maine, under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Lehmann.

 Marshunda was inspired to help co-found and conduct the No-Name Orchestra of Boston, granting musicians a chance to play a concerto or other solo work with a full orchestra. The conductor, soloist, and orchestra perform a work for the first time upon meeting each other with no rehearsals. No-Name Orchestra is now in its 4th year since being founded and gives at least 3 performances each year around the Boston metro area.

When not performing, recording or making history, Marshunda pursues her love of teaching,  inspiring  young musicians, and sharing her own quirky sense of fun with others. She teaches at the Waldorf School in Beverly, MA and holds a private music studio of violin, viola, and cello students.