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David Wiley

David Wiley headshot


David Stewart Wiley has led the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra since 1996, helping the ensemble achieve ever-higher levels of artistry while bonding it with the community-at-large. Late in 2023, the RSO Board announced the extension of his contract for another four years, making him the longest-tenured music director in the orchestra's 71-year history.

Wiley also enjoys an enviable guest conducting career, having appeared with the distinguished symphonies of Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oregon, Saint Louis, San Francisco, and Utah, as well as with those in dozens of countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. He has a multi-faceted and in-demand career as an orchestra builder, guest conductor, arranger, educator, and chamber music collaborator, and he inspires and engages both orchestras and audiences alike. Wiley made his triple debut with the Boston Pops as conductor, composer, and piano soloist in Boston’s historic Symphony Hall in 2019.

Under his direction, the RSO has experienced continued artistic growth and program innovation and expansion, along with increased financial stability. Wiley's tenure with the RSO is a remarkable success story, with consistently stellar reviews, a diverse and impressive list of guest artists and composers, and innovative commissions of new music. He is an engaged, active, and recognized community partner, and was named Roanoke’s "Citizen of the Year" in 2015 for his outstanding service and outreach. Wiley was part of the leadership team that traveled to Denver when Roanoke received its unprecedented seventh “All-American City” award. He actively partners with schools and numerous arts and civic organizations, and the RSO and Wiley received a "Distinguished Music Educator" award from Yale University for their work with local schools. They produced the orchestra's first live TV broadcast, and collaborate regularly with WVTF public radio to broadcast many of their concerts. His energetic work bringing classical music to youth in greater Roanoke’s minority communities has been steadfast, and he was honored by the Roanoke NAACP as "Citizen of the Year" in the arts in 2009. He and his wife Leah were honored at the MS Society’s “Dinner of Champions” for their leadership, and during his 25th season Wiley was honored by the governor and a joint bipartisan resolution in the Virginia House and Senate.

As a solo pianist with diverse classical, pops, and chamber music experience, Wiley has performed with numerous orchestras in the United States including in Boston, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Oregon, and West Virginia, performing major concertos by composers from the Baroque to contemporary periods, often conducting from the piano. He has appeared in recital and chamber music appearances in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, and China. His numerous opera and ballet performances include with the Aspen Opera Theater, IU Opera Theater, and Moscow Ballet.

As an experienced leader, Wiley plans and facilitates a regular innovative teaching experience with business executives and musicians together on stage called “Conducting Change” which helps executives to model leadership skills in a fun and engaging atmosphere with a live orchestra. Corporations with successful experiences with this program include Allstate Insurance, Carilion Health Systems, and member One Federal Credit Union.

Summer engagements have included the Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia, Park City Music Festival in Utah, the Minnesota Orchestra Summerfest, Prince Albert Music Festival in Hawaii, Sitka Music Festival in Alaska, and Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia. From 1999 until 2006 Wiley was the artistic director and conductor of the Wintergreen Music Festival, where he founded and built the festival orchestra, created the student academy, and led the festival to remarkable artistic growth in seven years, tripling the balanced budget.

Wiley also serves as artistic director of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival based in Floyd, and music director and conductor of Orchestra Long Island in New York. As he has done for more than 20 years beginning in 2001 with the Long Island Philharmonic, he leads concerts for many thousands of people each year in venues from the Bronx to the Hamptons, featuring educational, pops, chamber, and classical programs. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Wiley’s CDs include an album of French cello concertos with Zuill Bailey and the Roanoke Symphony on Delos International; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Choral with the RSO and choruses; and “American Piano Concertos” with Norman Krieger and the RSO on Artisie 4, which includes Wiley’s third piano concerto. He has released “Wiley & Friends: Classical Jazz, American Trumpet Concertos” with the Slovak Radio Symphony/Neebe; a violin and piano duo CD called “Preludes & Lullabies” with Akemi Takayama; "Sempre Libera" with soprano Adelaide Trombetta; a solo piano CD with all original compositions entitld "Full Circle"; and "Piano Bells." As a composer, he has written symphonic music for the film "Lake Effects," which featured a soundtrack performed by the RSO, Wiley conducting, with original music by Wiley and Kazimir Boyle.

Wiley won the Aspen Conducting Prize, was assistant conductor for the Aspen Music Festival and was awarded a Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood. He holds both a doctorate and Master of Music in conducting from Indiana University, a degree in piano performance with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a degree in Religion, summa cum laude, from Tufts University. He is a recipient of the Perry F. Kendig prize for service to the arts, and is a Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International.

Wiley and his wife have two sons, both currently in college in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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