OSSCS Press Release: May 3, 2018
May 3, 2018 • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
William White Named New Music Director of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers
Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers (OSSCS) announced today that William White will become music director and principal conductor of the organization beginning with the 2018–2019 season. White succeeds Clinton Smith, who announced his resignation a year ago.
White led the orchestra and chorus as a guest conductor in November 2017 as part of the organization’s music-director search. His concert, “Dvořák in America,” featured the famous New World Symphony and lesser-known works by Dvořák, Haydn and Leo Sowerby. White was one of five guest conductors invited to appear on the 2017–2018 OSSCS season, four of them candidates for music director.
“Will is bold,” said OSSCS Board Chair Stephen Hegg. “His joy in music-making, and his deep, fascinating knowledge thrilled the chorus and the orchestra from the very first rehearsal.
He impressed the board with program ideas that will build on our Baroque and masterwork strengths, explore music unheard in the Pacific Northwest, and serve new audiences.”
“For me, this is an ideal musical partnership,” says Mr. White. “What I appreciate most about OSSCS is that it is a group of volunteer musicians who have a professional attitude and an inquisitive spirit. Having studied the organization’s history, I have become deeply impressed by its commitment to innovative programming that also maintains a strong connection to the classical tradition. I am humbled by the contributions OSSCS has made to Seattle’s artistic life under both of my predecessors, George Shangrow and Clinton Smith, and I am committed to advancing its artistic goals, furthering its growth, and expanding its engagement with the community at large.”
Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Mr. White plans to relocate to Seattle this summer.
White’s musical career has spanned genres and crossed disciplines. He served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2011 through 2015, working in close collaboration with the CSO’s music director, Louis Langrée, as well as guest artists such as Philip Glass, John Adams, Jennifer Higdon, James Conlon and Juanjo Mena. A noted pedagogue, he has led some of the nation’s finest youth orchestra programs, including Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.
White has significant experience working with choirs and vocal soloists in a variety of contexts, from small a cappella ensembles to major symphonic and operatic choruses. He also maintains an active career as a composer of music for the concert hall, stage, church, film and radio. His music has been performed throughout the United States as well as in Asia and Europe. He received his academic and musical training at the University of Chicago, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors.
White will work with departing OSSCS music director Clinton Smith, who will serve in an advisory role through September to assist with transition and to help launch OSSCS’ 49th season, which begins in October 2018. Details of the 2018–2019 season will be announced later in the summer.
OSSCS, founded in 1969 by George Shangrow, enjoys a unified orchestral/choral identity, employing both orchestral and choral forces in almost every concert. OSSCS has commissioned many new works by Northwest composers and has performed the breadth of Baroque repertoire, including many lesser-known works.
OSSCS’s final concert of its 48th season takes place Sunday, June 3, featuring a world premiere (The Migration and Death of Esperanza Soledad Hernández) by Mexico City–based composer Robert Brooks) alongside Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42. Guest conductor Alastair Willis leads the program, joined by soprano soloist Amanda Opuszynski.