SOST maestro named first recipient of Aspire Award

Chelsea Tipton (photo by Clay Thorp)

The Symphony of Southeast Texas’ (SOST) Music DirectorChelsea Tipton II has been named the first recipient of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s new Aspire Award in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to music education.

The Aspire Award is a new honor to be awarded annually by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) to recognize accomplished professional musicians who are African American or Latino who demonstrate commitment to community and inclusiveness.  In making its announcement, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra emphasized that Maestro Tipton, a long-time friend of the ASO, embodies these ideals making him a perfect selection for this award.

The Aspire Award will be given to Maestro Tipton at the Orchestra’s annual Fall Musicale and Aspire Awards ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. The event showcases young artists currently in its prestigious Talent Development Program, which identifies and develops young African American and Latino students for acceptance in the country’s top music programs.

Tipton is currently celebrating his fifth season as music director of the SOST, where he plans and conducts four classics series concerts, a pops concert, a holiday concert, four youth education concerts and two side-by-side education concerts each season. He has established a vibrant and accessible presence with many education and community organizations in Southeast Texas.

Tipton has appeared with numerous major orchestras in the United States, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, as well as the Dohnanyi Symphony Orchestra (Budapest), among others. Tipton is also involved with the Sphinx Organization, which works to transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts. He has conducted the Sphinx Competition Showcase gala concert in Carnegie Hall that was the culmination of a ten city tour with the orchestra.  

Tipton and the SOST continue the 61st season with the Classics Series – Concert 2, “Russian Tragedy to Triumph,” on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Julie Rogers Theatre. The evening begins with the turbulent, tragic character of Brahms’ “Tragic” Overture and then will be transformed into a brilliant triumph in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Single ticket prices range from $17 to $41; senior, student and group discounts are available. To purchase tickets or get more information, go to or contact the Symphony office at (409) 892-2257.

—SOST press release