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Moores School of Music to honor its director David Ashley White

April 26 concert of Bernstein's Candide performed to celebrate White’s 15-year tenure

Candide Playbill Cover Art

Internationally-acclaimed composer David Ashley White is stepping down as director of the Moores School of Music, effective June 1, 2014.

To honor his 15-year tenure as director, major components of the Moores School of Music will combine to present a concert version of Leonard Bernstein's opera, Candide, on Saturday, April 26.  It will be the final concert of the season during the 2013-2014 academic year.

“This was one of several works by Bernstein that influenced me as a student,” Dr. White said. “When I was in school at Del Mar College, I was an oboist in the Corpus Christi Symphony. The conductor, Maurice Peress, was a protégé of Bernstein, and I recall the orchestra programed Bernstein’s Third Symphony, “Kaddish,” the year after it was performed by the New York Philharmonic. Those were exciting years.”

Dr. White earned his Associate Degree at Del Mar, his Bachelor of Music in oboe performance and Master of Music in composition from the University of Houston, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.

He holds the Margaret M. Alkek and Margaret Alkek Williams Endowed Chair and is a professor of composition and theory at the Moores School. After a yearlong faculty development leave, Dr. White will resume his teaching, research and creative activities at the Moores School.

While away from campus, he will be working on several composition projects, including a commission for the 2016 American Guild of Organists National Convention to be held in Houston that year. It will be a piece for chorus and organ.

“I look forward to returning to teaching and having more time to compose, in other words, to return to where it all began,” Dr. White said.

His secular and sacred compositions are widely performed and published, and he has received numerous commissions from organizations, schools, churches, and individuals.

His published hymns are readily available through a number of sources, including the Episcopal Church’s The Hymnal 1982 and Wonder, Love, and Praise; The United Methodist Hymnal and its supplement; the hymnal of the United Church of Christ in Japan; Great Britain’s Worship Songs Ancient and Modern; and Hymns of Universal Praise, published by the Chinese Christian Literature Council LTD, among others.

Dr. White’s 15 years at the helm of the Moores School of Music is only matched by that of the school’s director emeritus David Tomatz, who passed away on January 16, 2014.

Under Dr. White’s leadership, the school garnered numerous national and international accolades, including the Concert Chorale winning the Best New Creation category for its rendition of Dr. White’s “I Cannot Live with You” at the 2011 Florilege Vocal de Tours international chorale competition in France.

“My 15 years as director of the Moores School have been wonderful in so many ways, and I have often been reminded of specifically why I became a music administrator,” Dr. White said.

“As a one-time pianist and oboist, and then as the very active composer I still am, serving as the director of a major music school was never part of my plans,” he continued. “But when that opportunity came along, I decided it was what I needed to do—to give back to the school and university I have always loved, and where I had already worked since the mid-1970s.”

Dean John W. Roberts has appointed Andrew Davis, associate professor of music theory and director of graduate studies, to be the next director of the Moores School of Music.

“The school will remain in excellent hands,” Dr. White said, “and it will be exciting and gratifying to watch students, staff and faculty continue to flourish.”

- By Shannon Buggs

April 26: Concert version of Leonard Bernstein's opera Candide honoring David Ashley White, director of the Moores School of Music. 7:30 p.m. Moores Opera House. Purchase tickets here.