Student performers in the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra will have a remarkable opportunity to work with maestro Steven White as he steps in to guest conduct a performance of the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra on April 6.

The concert,  presented by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre of the Moss Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. 

White has had an extensive career in orchestra conducting with engagements around the world, including Metropolitan Opera, Arizona Opera, Peabody ConservatoryBaltimore Symphony, and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1999 to 2010, he also served as the artistic director of Opera Roanoke, where he conducted nearly all the company’s productions.

White has gone on to be praised by “Opera News” as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score.” He is regarded as one of the country’s premier conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire.

White will return to Virginia Tech for a special engagement with the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra, a university-community orchestra made up of students, faculty, and local community musicians.

“Having a conductor with such a strong musical vision, résumé, and the ability to communicate like Steven White is a great gift for our music students,” said Alan Weinstein, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts. “He’s a consummate performer and brings out the best in all who play for him.”

For White, the opportunity to connect with students reminds him of the same joy and exhilaration he had when he was a young musician.

“Young musicians are not jaded to the music or the process; they bring a unique passion,” he said.

White describes the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra as a “tremendous mixture of musicians,” and said he hopes this opportunity presents a look at the real world of orchestra musicians, who often experience multiple guest conductors over the course of a season.

Describing himself as someone who has been “living with the music for years and years,” White said he is excited to work with students and community musicians.

“Now is the time to really focus on technique and skills to ensure there is a technique to express personality in their music,” White said.

The concert will feature performances of  Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1,” and Sibellius’ “Finlandia.”

Tickets and parking

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students and may be purchased online through the Moss Arts Center box office or by calling 540-231-5300 during regular business hours. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The Moss Arts Center is located at 190 Alumni Mall on the campus of Virginia Tech. Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street; in the Squires Student Center lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street; in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street; and in the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.

Additional parking is available in the Kent Square parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please call Susan Sanders at 540-231-5200 or email her during regular business hours prior to the event.

Written by Willie Caldwell, a graduate student studing arts leadership and higher education at Virginia Tech

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