The 2019–2020 season marks William White’s second season as music director and principal conductor of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers. Maestro White is a conductor, composer, teacher, writer and performer whose musical career has spanned genres and crossed disciplines. For four seasons (2011–2015) he served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, working closely with music director Louis Langrée and an array of guest artists, including John Adams, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Itzhak Perlman and James Conlon. 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.
Mr. 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 has long-standing associations with a number of musical organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra(regular pre-concert lecturer since 2008), the Pierre Monteux School (conducting associate and later composer-in-residence), and the Interlochen Academy (director of the Intermediate Symphony).
In addition, Mr. White maintains a significant career as a composer of music for the concert stage, theater, cinema, church, radio and film. His music — which includes a symphony, an oratorio, chamber music of all varieties, and several works intended for young audiences — has been performed throughout North America as well as in Asia and Europe. Several of his works have been recorded on the MSR Classics and Cedille labels.
Mr. White earned a master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, studying symphonic and operatic repertoire with David Effron and Arthur Fagan. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Chicago, where his principal teachers were composer Easley Blackwood and conductor Barbara Schubert. In 2004, he began attending the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors under the tutelage of Michael Jinbo, later serving as the school’s conducting associate, and then as its composer-in-residence.
Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Mr. White began his musical training as a violist. (You can keep any jokes to yourself.) He is active as a clinician, arranger and guest conductor, particularly of his own works. His orchestral arrangements, including “Happy,” “Dear Theodosia” and an orchestral suite from Sweeney Todd, have been performed by orchestras throughout the United States.
In 2015, Mr. White launched Ask a Maestro, a YouTube series in which he answers questions about the world of classical music. Recordings of his works can be heard at www.willcwhite.com, where he also maintains a blog and publishing business.
On May 3, 2018, William White was named the third music director of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers.