headshot photo of Dr. Robert Frelly

Dr. Robert Frelly

Director of Music Education, Instrumental Emphasis
College of Performing Arts; Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music
Expertise: Music Education, Instrumental; Wind Conducting
Office Location: Oliphant Hall 110
Phone: (714) 997-6917
Freshman Foundations Program
Chapman University, Bachelor of Music
California State University, Long Beach, Master of Music
University of Southern California, Doctor of Music


Robert Frelly is recognized throughout the country as an accomplished conductor and music educator. Dr. Frelly has taught instrumental music at all levels and for the past 24 years has served as Professor of Music and Director of Music Education within the Conservatory of Music. He is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Orange County Symphony, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Southern California Youth Philharmonic and Conservatory of Music, a music program with over 200 students in 6 ensembles. His previous conducting posts include Music Director and Conductor of the La Mirada Symphony, Associate Conductor of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor of the Southern California Philharmonic, Music Director of the Southern California Pops Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor of the Chapman University Wind Symphony, and Music Director of the University of Southern California Community Orchestra.

Noted for his artistic and visionary leadership, Dr. Frelly's appointments extend beyond the United States, having served as Artistic Director and Festival Conductor of music festivals in London (for the 2012 Olympic Games and Queen’s Jubilee), Vienna and Prague (2009), China (for the 2008 Olympic Games), and Sydney, Australia (2006 and 2007). Future engagements include Japan (2018), Cuba (2019), and Vienna and Prague (2020). His work as a leader in music is further highlighted through his position as Artistic Director of Orchestras for Perform International and Perform America. As music director, he has led performances in 16 countries across 3 continents, including return visits to the famed Salzburg Music Festival and the renowned Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Equally at home in the classical, jazz and pop genres, Dr. Frelly has worked with a number of prominent artists, has conducted for film and opera, and is a frequent guest conductor for all-state and regional honor bands and orchestras.

A strong advocate for the arts, Dr. Frelly is a frequent clinician, presenter and leader with many notable arts organizations and has served as Mentor for NAfME (National Association for Music Education), President of the Youth Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras, and President of the California Association for Music Education —Southern Section. A leader in the field of music education, Dr. Frelly has served as a consultant for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the past 8 years.  In the Fall of 2017, Dr. Frelly was elected Chairman of the Committee on Accreditation for the State of California following his re-appointment by the Governor of California to serve a second term on the Committee. He also serves as the lead music assessor for both the California Teacher Performance Assessment and the California Subject Examination for Teachers. Dr. Frelly has authored numerous articles on music and has been a contributing writer for the Orange County Register. A champion of new music, Dr. Frelly has received national recognition on three occasions with the “First Place ASCAP Award for Programming of Music”.

Dr. Frelly is the recipient of the Arts Orange County as Artist and Arts Educator of the Year (2011), Chapman University Faculty Member of the Year (2008), a Chapman University Faculty Achievement Award, recognizing excellence in teaching and scholarly/creative activity, three Chapman University Scholarly/Creative Grants, and a Subito grant from the American Composers Forum.

Dr. Frelly holds a Doctor of Musical Arts — Music Education from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from California State University, Long Beach, where he was inducted as a member of the Graduates Dean's List of University Scholars and Artists. He also holds dual Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Music Composition from Chapman University and is a member of “Who’s Who Among America's Teachers".

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Artistic Director and Conductor (33rd season), Southern California Youth Philharmonic — Created season program; Conducted 5 performances between September 2016 and May 2017; Wrote program notes; Presented pre-concert lectures
Conducted clinics for 16 high schools from the Western States
Carnegie Hall, New York — Southern California Youth Philharmonic
Richard Nixon Presidential Library — Southern California Youth Philharmonic
Artistic Director and Conductor (31st season), Southern California Youth Philharmonic — Created season program; Conducted 5 performances between September 2013 and May 2014; Wrote program notes; Presented pre-concert lectures
Music Director and Conductor (2nd season), La Mirada Symphony — September 2012 - April 2013; Created season program; Conducted 8 performances for a total audience of over 8,000; Wrote program notes