The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s beloved Maestro, David Stewart Wiley, just completed his 20th acclaimed season with our orchestra & chorus. To honor David and his work, a group of RSO supporters organized by community leader and businessman Bart Wilner hosted a special party event at Rockledge on Mill Mountain, announcing the creation of the new “David Stewart Leadership Fund” – a new endowment initiative in his honor.
A $100,000 lead gift was presented to add to the RSO’s existing and growing endowment funds to help sustain and grow the RSO. When presented with this news, Wiley stated “I am truly touched and humbled by this generous gift to the RSO in my name. Together, we will insure that the RSO remains strong both now and for future generations.”
Dr. Wiley continues to travel regularly to NY and beyond to conduct concerts and serve as our unofficial ambassador for music and music education. During his tenure, the RSO has had enormous successes, growing from an annual budget of $700,000 to more than $1.7 million, has recorded classical CD’s and film music for national release, and has brought in a stellar list of guest musical superstars including Sir James Galway, Natalie Cole, Mercedes Ellenton, Vince Gill, and many more.
This past December, the Roanoke City Council, at the RSO’s annual Holiday Pops concert, announced that Wiley was unanimously voted “2015 Citizen of the Year” for his service and activities separate from his RSO duties, recognizing Wiley’s service to our region’s diverse communities and to our youth. The RSO and Wiley, in partnership with Roanoke City Public Schools, earned a Distinguished Music Educator Award from Yale University, recognizing the ongoing partnership and achievement for changing lives through music education.
The RSO will kick off its 63rd season on Saturday, August 27th, with a free early-afternoon concert at Roanoke’s Elmwood Park as part of the City of Roanoke Parks & Arts series. The Masterworks series opens October 15 with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony along with acclaimed guest soloist, cellist Zuill Bailey, in a new cello concerto “Tales of Hemingway” by Michael Daugherty.
The RSO Pops Season commences with an 80’s “Party at the Pops” with special guest Billy Ocean on September 9th and will then expand its “Picnic at the Pops” series this season by featuring: Holiday Pops (Dec. 2), Beatle Mania with the Classical Mystery Tour (April 7), and feature stars from Broadway in, “My Fair Broadway” the acclaimed music of Lerner & Loewe (May 12).
Along with the RSO chorus, the RSO will present Handel’s “The Messiah” (Dec. 13), and Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9 “Choral Symphony” Ode to Joy.
Tickets to the RSO’s new season go on sale on July 5, 2016, and music lovers can call (540) 343-9127 or go to RSO.com for more information.