DIANE WITTRY, conductor
Internationally acclaimed conductor, DIANE WITTRY, maintains a dual career as an esteemed music director and guest conductor throughout the world. She specializes in conducting American music abroad, and is known in the United States for her innovative and creative programming. During the past few seasons she has conducted concerts in Japan, Canada, Bosnia, Russia, Slovakia, New York, Washington D.C, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and California, as well as her regularly scheduled concerts with the orchestras in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In the United States, Diane Wittry has led performances by, among others, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the Little Orchestra Society of New York, and the symphony orchestras of Milwaukee, San Diego, Houston, New Jersey, Santa Barbara, Augusta, Stockton, Pottstown, Wichita, and Wichita Falls; while her international engagements include concerts with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Russia’s Maikop and Sochi symphony orchestras, Slovakia’s State Orchestra-Kosice, Italy’s Sinfonia Dell’Arte di Firenze, Canada’s Niagara Symphony, and Japan’s Orchestra Osaka Symphony. She has also conducted at the music festivals of Ojai (CA), Penn’s Woods (PA), and I-Park (CT).
As the Music Director of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (PA) Wittry has championed an exciting, innovative programming style for concerts of all types. Her ability to related to an audience and her exceptional combination of repertoire makes her concerts unique. The Stamford Advocate, CT, recently featured Diane Wittry as “a conductor who specializes in finding creative ways to make the music fresh, accessible, and exciting.” She has been a tireless advocate for the development of extensive educational programs and is very involved with the Allentown Symphony's new El Sistema Program for underprivileged children.
Diane Wittry was recently named the Artistic Director (USA) for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians through the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy for Arts and Sciences (Chicago). She also serves as the Artistic Director for Pizazz Music, an ensemble that specializes in bringing classical music to people in new and different ways.
In the past, Diane Wittry has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Norwalk Symphony (CT) and the Artistic Director of the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ). Prior to this, Diane Wittry was the Music Director and Conductor of The Symphony of Southeast Texas (TX). Her work in Beaumont, Texas garnered national attention for the exceptional artistic and organizational growth the occurred under her leadership.
Diane Wittry began her conducting studies with Daniel Lewis at the University of Southern California, from which she graduated with honors. While still a student, she was the recipient of a conducting fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival. Her other teachers and mentors include Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Gustav Meier and Jorge Mester; most recently, she worked with the renowned Russian conductor Leonid Korchmar of the Kirov Opera, and Jorma Panula from Finland.
In 2008, Diane Wittry began composing. Her first piece Mist was premiered by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and has had many performances and radio broadcasts both nationally and internationally. It is available for streaming at www.Instantencore.com in a recording by the Slovak State Philharmonic. Her second piece Lamentoso was premiered in 2010, and her new piece "after the rain..." will be premiered in 2012 by the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra. Diane Wittry has been a juror for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers’ Annual Rudolf Nissim Composer’s Competition in New York, an adjudicator for new compositions for the artist residency program at I-Park in Connecticut, and she has also served as a music panelist for National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC. Her music is published by the Theodore Presser Company.
Over the years, Diane Wittry has received many honors and awards, including the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award for outstanding artistic leadership of a regional orchestra. She has been the subject of profiles in The New York Times and Newsweek. Ms. Wittry received the Women of Excellence Award in Beaumont, Texas, the Arts Ovation Award and the Woman of Distinction Award from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Most recently, she became only the third American to be named - in recognition of her leadership in the arts and humanities - the recipient of the prestigious Fiorino Doro Award from the City of Vinci, Italy.
Diane Wittry has served as a National Conducting Mentor for regional music directors in their first or second year through the League of American Orchestras, as well as being a frequent faculty member for the League's national Leadership Academy. She is also in demand as a guest lecturer for national conferences and civic organizations. Her book Beyond the Baton, about artistic leadership for young conductors and music directors (Oxford University Press, 2007) is now the focus of a yearly International Conducting Workshop which helps emerging conductors put to practical use the elements in the book. (www.BeyondtheBaton.com) The paperback edition of this book was released in May, 2011.