The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra began as a vision of a handful of professional musicians who performed several concerts in 2000. The Orchestra filled a need for classical orchestral music in the northern Michigan area, and soon GLCO was performing classical concerts, “pop” series concerts, and smaller neighborhood recital concerts, as well as developing educational programs that inspire and transform students both in the community and in local schools.

As Northern Michigan’s champions of classical chamber music, it is our mission to entertain, to inspire and to educate. With a vast variety of concert themes, we highlight the most classic of traditional composers to the most innovative of today’s contemporaries—we truly have something for everyone!

Today the Orchestra includes gifted conductor and Music Director, Libor Ondras as well as a roster of over 75 professional musicians who challenge audiences to think differently about classical music. The orchestra season includes main stage concerts, Sunday Series concerts and summertime Little Bay LIVE! small ensemble collaborative performances with local organizations such as the Mackinac Arts Council, Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce, Crooked Tree Arts Center, Raven Hill Discovery Center and others. The orchestra boasts a chorus of over 40 auditioned singers who perform with the orchestra.

We bring powerful musical experiences to our beloved small towns to promote cultural diversity and personal enrichment. By sharing our message and collaborating with school programs and audiences of all ages, we help create vibrant communities for generations to come.

We invite you to come and connect with us. GREAT LAKES. GREAT MUSIC.  

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Eric Lawson

Assistant Concertmaster

Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.

Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.

And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.