WDAV’s mission is, in part, to make high-quality classical music accessible to the community. Lucky for us, and for our friends in the area, we’re not the only ones working tirelessly to make sure that classical music flourishes in our region. Dr. Tara Villa Keith, and her students in the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, work diligently week over week to prepare challenging repertoire and perform these difficult and inspiring programs several times a year. Their work adds to the student experience at Davidson College – not just for the 50 student musicians in the ensemble, but for all Davidson students who get to see their peers perform at an exceedingly high level. Since their performances are open to the public, our community can also enjoy the fruits of their labor and talent.
In fact, the quality of these concerts is so high that the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (DCSO) won the 2018 American Prize in Orchestral Performance in the college orchestra division. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit, competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize has attracted hundreds of qualified contestants from all fifty states, has awarded more than $50,000 in prizes in all categories since 2010, and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts.
In addition, Dr. Keith placed second for The American Prize’s Vytautas Marijosius Award for Orchestral Programming for the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-17 season for which she received a special judge’s citation for “remarkable growth in the programming of major repertoire.” Dr. Keith also won third place for The American Prize in Conducting, College/University Orchestra Division with a special judges’ citation for “exceptional improvement in ensemble performance.”
Davidson’s Associate Dean for Academic Administration Leslie Marsicano notes “I have always been proud that Davidson College music ensembles are open to all interested students rather than just limited to music majors. This prize is confirmation that under the direction of our talented and committed faculty, our students achieve the highest level of performance.”
Regarding the honor, Dr. Keith also credits her students as the real winners, noting “this award is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and relentless spirit of the student musicians. Even though most of the students aren’t music majors, their talent is, obviously, strong enough to make them competitive on a national level.” She adds, “it is an honor to be able to create and share music with the Davidson College students and community, and I’m looking forward to seeing where our orchestral journeys take us in the upcoming seasons!”
You can join the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra for their season opening performance, Celtic Adventure, on Thursday, September 27th on the Davidson College campus. The ensemble will be joined by internationally-recognized artists Jamie Laval and Rosemary Warren-Green. Tickets available here.
Watch the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra take you on a tour of the solar system with music of Gustav Holst.