ASCCO Performing on stage.

The Creative Arts Major: Music

The Music Concentration in Agnes Scott's Creative Arts Major, from Dr. Qiao Chen Solomon

In April 2023, Agnes Scott’s faculty voted on the creation of a new major program, the Creative Arts major, to encompass multiple existing and new academic areas. In order to explore these new and refreshed areas of study, over the next few months we will be releasing a series of blog posts guest-written by Agnes Scott professors about their areas of concentration with the Creative Arts. This is part three of the Creative Arts series: the Music Concentration.


Under the baton of Dr. Qiao Chen Solomon, the Agnes Scott Community Orchestra (ASCCO) is the largest instrumental ensemble on campus. The orchestra consists of ASC students, community musicians and ASC artist affiliates dedicated to rehearsing and performing a high standard of orchestral repertoire representing a wide range of styles. The college-community nature of the ensemble size provides a valuable orchestral experience for instrumentalists from a variety of musical backgrounds and interests.

Other Agnes Scott musical ensembles String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble are derived from ASCCO and formed by members of ASCCO who love to perform in intimate settings and explore chamber music literature.

Stage with the Agnes Scott community orchestra
Photo credit: Rebecca Niesse


On Sunday, November 12, the Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra, String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble presented the Fall concert Dream Machine in Gaines Chapel, Presser Hall on campus. It led the audience on a musical journey through music by Modest Mussorgsky, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Florence Price, Peter Warlock and Brian Balmages. 

Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra playing on stage.
ASCCO. Photo credit: Jack Franklin
Wind ensemble members sit in their chairs in front of music stands while performing.
Wind ensemble. Photo credit: Tallulah Stroud
View of conductor and behind performers of string orchestra.
String Orchestra. Photo credit: Phil Coventry
Above shot of orchestra wind and brass section.
ASCCO Wind and Brass section. Photo credit: Tallulah Stroud
Orchestra featured from above stage.
ASCCO. Photo credit: Phil Coventry


The chamber wind ensemble performed pieces by Ottorino Respighi, Johan Sebastian Bach and Scott Joplin.

Chamber wind ensemble on stage performing.
Chamber Wind Ensemble. Photo credit: Jack Franklin


The String Orchestra was joined by the Dekalb School of Arts orchestra members for a side-by-side performance of music by Florence Price and Peter Warlock. Guest Conductor Jon Carmack led the ensemble. 

The String Orchestra under the direction of Jon Carmack. Photo credit: Jack Franklin


ASCCO performed works by Brian Balmages, Modest Mussorgsky, Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein.

ASCCO Performing on stage.
ASCCO. Photo credit: Jack Franklin


If you are a musician and are interested in becoming a member, please get in touch with Dr. Qiao Chen Solomon at


Creative Arts Major: Concentration in Music

Creative Arts (CA) majors will take four interdisciplinary common courses plus twelve hours of CA electives.  Students earning the Music concentration will also take eight hours of culture and history courses (Musical Elements in Global Perspective and Western music history), eight hours of music theory (Theory I and II), six semesters of applied lessons on one instrument or voice, and at least four semesters of ensemble. For more information regarding the Creative Arts Major, please contact the Department Co-Chairs, Prof. Toby Emert ( and Prof. Bridget Roosa ( Questions about the Music concentration can be directed to any full-time music faculty member. 


About the Writer:

Dr. Qiao Chen Solomon is the Director of Strings and Orchestral Studies and an associate professor of Music at Agnes Scott College. She teaches applied violin, viola lessons, and chamber ensemble classes and directs the Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra. Qiao is driven to advance the music of under-represented composers by presenting many concerts throughout the United States featuring Black, Chinese, and women composers. She has premiered the commissioned Augusta Read Thomas’ solo violin work Capricious Toccata during the composer’s residency at Agnes Scott College. Under her baton, the Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra produced the Southeast premiere of Mary Watkins’ opera Dark River-The Fanny Lou Hammer Story. As a violinist and violist, Qiao has recorded various works by women composers, including Augusta Read Thomas’ Pulsar and Rebecca Clark’s Sonata for Viola and Piano. These pieces were commissioned by the National Council of Women of the United States for a double CD collection of works by women composers. She also contributed to the album Women to Women, which features works for violin and piano composed by Clara Schuman, Amy Beach and Ethel Smyth with the Eureka Duo.

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