David Stewart Wiley Named 2009 Citizen of the Year by the Roanoke, Virginia NAACP

David Stewart Wiley, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Long Island Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor has been named “2009 Citizen of the Year” in the arts category by the Roanoke branch of the NAACP.  Wiley will be honored at their awards banquet later this month.  The prestigious award is in honor of Wiley’s lasting and deep commitment to students of all ages and backgrounds through the Friends of the RSO, a prominent African-American support group for the symphony.

During his twelve years as Music Director with the RSO, Maestro Wiley has spent countless hours coaching and accompanying many young African-American musicians.  This educational program culminates in the annual Student Musicale, held in rotating black churches and community centers in the area where the greater Roanoke community comes together to hear and support young talent.

“We are so excited that Maestro Wiley is being recognized for his compelling contributions to the African-American community,” said Herbert Chappelle Friends of the RSO President. “He has brought creative leadership to the programs that inspire participation and excellence.”

Maestro Wiley has had a lasting impact on the lives of these young musicians.  Many students begin in elementary school, and a remarkable number go on to college and continue their music when they return home to perform in the Musicale and serve as role models for the younger students.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition and am grateful for the unwavering support of the African-American community,” said Wiley.  “Most of all, I am humbled by the achievements of these talented musicians.”

With the Friends, Wiley created and hosted “The Route to the Symphony” where renowned black composers and performers meet members of the community in dialogue and fellowship as part of their musical residency with the RSO.  His “Jazz meets Classical” performances and CD were created to break down the barriers between Jazz and Classical music.  As Music Director of the RSO, Wiley has invited prominent black artists to perform with the RSO including Lou Rawls, Mercedes Ellington, Jennifer Holliday, The Pointer Sisters, Kool & the Gang, Kevin Maynor, and Ben E. King, among others.

He will have superstars Natalie Cole and Aaron Neville perform with the RSO under his baton this season.  For his continuing activities promoting the arts and education throughout Virginia, David Stewart Wiley has received the Perry F. Kendig Award for Service to the Arts, as well as special recognition from the RSO Friends for his unwavering dedication to the African American communities of SW Virginia.

The Roanoke Branch NAACP invites the public to join in honoring Maestro Wiley on Friday, Sept. 25, for their 11th Annual Citizen of the Year Awards program. The theme is “NAACP –We are 100 – Bold Dreams – Big Victories.”  Tickets at $50.00 each include the reception, the Awards Dinner and program and may be purchased by calling 344-2424.

David Stewart Wiley serves concurrently as Music Director & Conductor of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra as well as New York’s Long Island Philharmonic.  Active throughout the world as a guest conductor, pianist, lecturer, and composer, Dr. Wiley regularly conducts professional orchestras throughout the U.S and abroad. He has guest conducted in most U.S. states, including the symphonies of San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Saint Louis, Atlanta, Oregon, Honolulu, Utah, and Buffalo.  David Stewart Wiley’s growing career has taken him to dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa.