Carrie Ann Carlson

Carrie Ann Carlson just completed her 22nd year as Director of Orchestras at Portage High School (PHS) and has retired to continue her career as a performing musician. In 2015 Carlson was the recipient of the Indiana American String Teacher Association’s High School Orchestra Teacher of the Year.

Professionally, Carlson performs with the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, the Elkhart Symphony, South Shore Symphony Orchestra and LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra. She served several years as an Educator Clinician for Zeta Music Systems, an electric string instrument manufacturer. Through Zeta she was able to present numerous clinics at national and regional music conferences teaching fellow music educators how to incorporate electronic instruments into the traditional curriculum. Her PHS orchestra was once featured in an article for The Band and Orchestra Product News as “The Orchestra of the Future.” 

Carlson earned her Bachelor’s Degree as an Area Major in Music Education from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, attending with a full tuition scholarship as a member of the ISU Tennis Team. She began her career at Chesterton High School serving as their string specialist, teaching grades 5-12. Following five years at Chesterton, she attended Graduate School at The University of Notre Dame where she received a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance and Sonata Literature. She served as concertmaster and executive director of the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra for many years before moving to Pennsylvania, where she earned an Artist Diploma Degree in Violin Performance and Literature from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She also plays piano and guitar.

Upon returning to Indiana, she served as an Adjunct Professor of Music for three years at Saint Mary’s College and began a twelve year affiliation with the LaPorte County Symphony serving as associate conductor and concertmaster of the Orchestra where she scripted, produced and conducted their popular children’s concerts, culminating with a National ASTA Conference session in Kansas City on the writing and production of children’s concerts. During this period she also played professionally in the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony, as well as maintaining an active string quartet.

Her fondest years with the LCSO are when she served as Associate Conductor and Concertmaster of the orchestra and worked alongside Michael Drayton preparing the wonderful children’s concerts. She is happy to return to the LCSO after a brief time away and to continue making music with her wonderful friends and fellow musicians.