Rossen Milanov, Music Director

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The CSO Chorus holds auditions several times throughout the year, attracting singers with substantial choral experience to join the organization in performing choral masterworks with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra under the inspiring leadership of Music Director, Rossen Milanov, and Principal Pops Conductor, Stuart Chafetz.

stephen caracciolo

Stephen Caracciolo is the newly appointed Chorus Director for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, preparing the CSO Chorus for appearances in the Masterworks concert series and conducting community performances of the CSO Chamber Choir. Dr. Caracciolo is a conductor recognized for his passionate artistry and creative leadership in interpreting an expansive range of the choral repertoire, including choral-orchestral works, Renaissance and Baroque motets, German-Romantic part songs, French chansons, the sacred literature of the English and Russian churches, opera choruses, American folk songs and spirituals, and works by living composers.

For twelve years he was a professional choral bass at Washington National Cathedral where he also served as the cover conductor for masses, choral evenings, and special services. He has had the privilege to perform choral masterworks with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the American Symphony, and the orchestra of Washington National Cathedral with such renowned conductors as Robert Shaw, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Erich Kunzel, Michael McCarthy, and James Levine.

Known nationally as a composer and arranger, Caracciolo’s choral works are performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He is a composer with MorningStar Music Publishers, E.C. Schirmer, Kjos Music, and Roger Dean Publishing, and is active as a consultant for various educational, ecclesiastical, and professional organizations. His publications—including commissions for the acclaimed professional vocal ensemble, Cantus—appear on numerous professional, collegiate, and cathedral repertoire lists, and may be heard on nationally distributed recordings as well as syndicated radio broadcasts including the well-known Sunday program, With Heart and Voice

Dr. Caracciolo concurrently serves as Artistic Director of LancasterChorale, Central Ohio’s premier professional chamber choir. Under his leadership, the ensemble consistently garners high praise for its beauty of tone, remarkable blend, and exceptional commitment to elegant text phrasing. Previous conducting posts include the Maryland Choral Society and choral ensembles at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, Roberts Wesleyan College, the Ohio University School of Music, and Denison University. Caracciolo holds a doctoral degree in conducting from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, a master’s degree in conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Capital University Conservatory of Music.

Casey L. Cook

Casey L. Cook began piano study at the age of four and was accompanying by the age of ten. Two of her most influential teachers were Mary Craig Powell, who nurtured her musical growth for fifteen years , and Dr. Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music. 

An accompanist for over 35 years, Ms. Cook has been honored to accompany national and regional honor choirs for the American Choral Directors Association, the Organization of American Kodály Educators, the Ohio Choral Directors Association, and the Ohio Music Educators Association.  Cook has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall annually since 2020.  Highlights of these performances included Andrea Ramsey’s Suffrage Cantata, scored for piano, string quartet, and women’s chorus, and also a premiere of a work by Andrea Clearfield, Home in Me.  

Currently, Ms. Cook serves as principal pianist for all of the choral ensembles at The Ohio State University School of Music.  In addition to her academic appointment, Cook is also a pianist for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Chorus.  The 2024-2025 CSO season will be her 25th year with the chorus. In 2011 she joined the CSO as an Associate Member of the orchestra.   

Cook is also a pianist for Mirabai, a professional women’s choir under the direction of Dr. Sandra Snow, and is the accompanist for Suzuki Music Columbus which serves over 120 violin, viola, and cello students in the central Ohio area. 

When not on the piano bench, you can find Ms. Cook on the golf course, chasing birdies.  

When and where does the Chorus rehearse? 

Weekly rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings 7:00-9:30pm in the spacious rehearsal Room 1 at the Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus. Safe and convenient parking is available at the Columbus Commons Underground Parking Garage.

Are singers expected to prepare for rehearsals? 

Chorus members are sent weekly emails from Dr. Caracciolo specifying precisely what titles will be rehearsed the following two Tuesdays. Singers are expected to target and master those portions of the program ahead of each rehearsal. Links to recordings, part tracks, and language diction helps are provided to aid in rehearsal preparation. Preparing for your Chorus audition, therefore, imitates on a smaller scale the same pattern CSO Chorus members follow when preparing for rehearsals. 

What may I expect the evening of an audition? 

Singers are greeted by members of the CSO Chorus Board when they arrive. You will be guided to a comfortable place to wait while you enter contact data into our files and sit for an informal picture.  A space will be provided for those who wish to warm up for a few minutes. 

When you meet with Dr. Caracciolo, other Chorus Board members will be in the room to assist and to listen. He will check your range, note your singing tone, and assess your musical acuity in about 15-minutes of time. Singers who audition for Dr. Caracciolo routinely note that the experience was enjoyable, engaging, and not at all what they expected! 

Sightreading is not assessed. Rather, the skill to thoroughly master the prepared excerpts and sing them accurately, musically, and beautifully at your audition is what we find most important! There is no expectation that those who audition will memorize the choral excerpts for their audition and singers are asked to bring the scores they downloaded in preparation.

How do I schedule an audition time? 

The CSO Chorus schedules audition events in July, August, October, January, and February to allow new singers to be considered for seats in upcoming performances throughout the season! To express your interest and to receive an audition time at our next event, contact Chorus Director, Dr. Stephen Caracciolo at You may expect a return communication within 48 hours.

Where are the auditions held? 

Auditions are held at All Saints Lutheran Church, 6770 N High Street in Worthington.