Diane Wittry

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Diane Wittry is an American musical conductor, named by Musical America as one of the “30 Top Professionals 2015.” [1] She is currently the Music Director and Conductor of both the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania (since 1995), and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony in New Jersey (since 2013). Additionally, Wittry is the Artistic Director for the International Cultural Exchange Program with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia. From 2002-2010 Wittry served seven seasons as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Norwalk Symphony in Connecticut.[2]

Background[edit]

Wittry is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) with a degree in violin performance and a master's degree in conducting. In 2013, Wittry was named the “Outstanding Alumnus of the Thornton School of Music” at USC. Wittry studied conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Maxwell Davies, Gustav Meier, and Jorge Mester.[3]

Diane Wittry has conducted concerts all over the world, including in Japan, Canada, Bosnia, Russia, Slovakia, New York, Washington D.C, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and California, as well as her regularly scheduled concerts with the orchestras in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where she places special emphasis on “connecting her ensembles with their communities.”[4] She is known as a conductor who “specializes in finding creative ways to make the music fresh, accessible, and exciting.”

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 Ojai Music Festival as well as at the music festivals of Penn’s Woods (PA), and I-Park (CT).[5]

Diane Wittry joined the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in 1995. At that time, she was the music director and conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and conductor of the Lamar Chamber Orchestra, both in Beaumont, Texas, as well as assistant conductor of the Pasadena Symphony.[6]

Wittry is the Artistic Director of Piźazz Music, a group professional musicians and music teachers selected through a competitive process.[7]

In addition to conducting, Wittry has composed several original compositions, including Mist, Lamentoso, After The Rain, Concerto for Homemade Instruments, Ode to Joy Fanfare, and Holiday Greetings. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company and Peckham Publications.[8]

Wittry has written and published two books: Beyond The Baton (2007) and Baton Basics: Communicating Music Through Gestures.[9]

Diane Wittry teaches a conducting workshop (Beyond The Baton Conducting Workshop with Diane Witty) in Connecticut, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. She also guests lectures at the Juilliard School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, Brandies University, the University of Southern California, and many other Colleges and Universities. She is a frequent guest speaker for national conferences of the Conductors Guild and the League of American Orchestras, and for regional music seminars.[10]

Recognition[edit]

Diane Wittry was named among the “30 Top Professionals 2015” by Musical America. She has received the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award for outstanding artistic leadership of a regional orchestra; she has been honored as the Outstanding Alumnae for Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California for 2013; The “Women of Excellence” Award from Beaumont, Texas; and an “Arts Ovation Award” and the “Woman of Distinction Award” from City of Allentown. Wittry is also only the third American to be named a recipient of the Fiorino Doro Award from the city of Vinci, Italy. She has also been the subject of profiles in The New York Times, Newsweek, and featured on a PBS News Hour.[11]

In 2011, Diane Wittry was 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). In 2015, Wittry celebrated her 20th Anniversary as the Music Director of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (PA), a professional orchestra that in its 66th year is only one of a handful of American orchestras to have its own acoustically superb concert hall.[12] In the past, Diane Wittry has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Norwalk Symphony (CT), and Music Director and Conductor of The Symphony of Southeast Texas (TX) where her artistic leadership garnered national attention.

Her book Beyond the Baton, (Oxford University Press) about artistic leadership for young conductors and music director was re-released in paperback. It is the focus of a yearly International Conducting Workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut which helps emerging conductors put to practical use the elements in the book.[13] Diane Wittry also teaches an International Conducting Workshop in Pleven, Bulgaria. “Beyond the Baton” was nominated for a 2007 Pulitzer Prize and an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (Oxford University Press, 2007).

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