Roanoke Symphony Orchestra to make television debut

By Mike Allen || 981-3236 (The Roanoke Times)

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra conductor David Stewart Wiley’s outsized persona and distinctive mane of hair will beam into living rooms across Southwest Virginia this coming Monday.

In addition, teenagers will demonstrate their mastery of works by Duke Ellington, Antonin Dvorak and more as the joint RSO/Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra concert (called “Water Music!”) broadcasts across the airwaves of WDBJ (Channel 7). It’s the first time one of RSO’s concerts has been performed in full on live television since the organization went professional in 1986.

Tech-savvy aficionados who prefer to watch shows on their smartphones and tablets can find the concert there, too. For the first time in RSO’s history, their full concert is being live streamed. The video can be viewed at

“For an organization of our size it’s really unprecedented,” said RSO marketing manager Rodney Overstreet. “Major orchestras are just getting into streaming on the Internet.”

Assembled in partnership with WDBJ, the show is a part of the symphony’s efforts to reach out to new audiences of all ages.

Wiley will share conducting duties with longtime RYSO conductor James Glazebrook, who plays violin as associate concertmaster in the grown-up orchestra. Wiley will also narrate British composer Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” an arrangement that demonstrates the sounds of all the different instruments.

With a program full of compositions with themes that relate to water, “Water Music!” will be played live in the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre in front of about 2,000 students from Roanoke and Roanoke County. It will be further streamed to more than 20,000 students throughout Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. Carilion Clinic is sponsoring the concert.

For those who’d prefer to hear the music in person but aren’t schoolchildren, the symphony holds a regular concert performance of “Water Music!” Sunday at the Berglund Center.