OSSCS music director-designate William 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, where he has regularly given pre-concert lectures since 2008. For three seasons, he was music director of Cincinnati’s Seven Hills Sinfonietta, a period which saw remarkable growth for the organization as a whole.
Mr. White maintains a significant career as a composer of music for the concert stage, theater, cinema, church, radio and film. His music has been performed throughout North America as well as in Asia and Europe. His output includes a symphony, an oratorio, chamber music of all varieties, and several works intended for young audiences. His music has been recorded on the MSR Classics and Cedille Record labels.
Mr. White earned a masters 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.
Mr. White hails from Bethesda, Maryland, where he began his musical training as a violist. 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 a YouTube series called “Ask a Maestro” where he answers questions about the world of classical music. Recordings of his works can be heard at his Web site (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, beginning with the 2018–2019 season.