Adjunct Instructor, Viola
Dawson White is the newest member of the Houston Ballet Orchestra where he serves as Section Violist. Other orchestral experiences include performing with the Houston Grand Opera, Opera in the Heights, Houston Composer's Orchestra, Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra as well as the Austin, Waco, and Lake Charles Symphonies. As a soloist, he has served as Principal Violist in Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote with the Baylor Symphony and performed as finalist in the MTNA National Competition in Toronto, Ontario. White currently performs as Principal Viola in both the Cypress Symphony, which he co-founded, and the Houston Latin-American Philharmonic.
As a fervent supporter of contemporary classical music, White organized a concert series at Rice University entitled “New Art/New Music” where composers were commissioned to craft musical works based on cutting-edge artwork presented at the Rice Gallery. Through this medium he premiered several new chamber works including Daniel Zajicek’s straight lines with hard edges, Andrew Schneider’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Steve Bachicha’s …until someone loses an eye! Other premieres include A Tangle of Rainbows by Andrew Stiefel and the Pacific Northwest premiere of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck at the Astoria Music Festival as Associate Principal Viola with members of the Oregon Symphony.
As an educator, Mr. White is frequently asked to lead clinics in preparation for All-State/Region auditions and UIL competition as well as adjudicating music competitions such as the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Concerto Competition. His students have earned top seats in All-State and Region orchestras and have been accepted to the Tanglewood and Heifetz Institutes, Interlochen, and American Festival for the Arts among others. Mr. White is currently Adjunct Professor of Viola at Sam Houston State University where he teaches viola, coaches chamber groups, holds viola/orchestral class each week and performs with the Kolonneh Faculty String Quartet. His successful studio of pre-college students are taught through the University of St. Thomas Music Preparatory program where he is also Adjunct Professor of Viola.
Mr. White received instruction from top teachers in the United States and Europe including Kathryn Steely at Baylor University and Ivo-van der Werff at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Also noteworthy is his frequent work with soloist and pedagogue Helen Callus and orchestral studies with Joan DerHovsepian, Associate Principal Violist of the Houston Symphony. Mr. White holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Viola Performance.
Dawson has also co-authored an article published in the Journal of the American Viola Society detailing his experiences with the YouTube Symphony and contributed to the 2013 American Viola Society Studio Blog with an article about entrepreneurship. He received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Musical Performance and the Donald I. Moore Award for Outstanding Performance from Baylor University. Through his extensive work in chamber and orchestral settings, Mr. White has had the opportunity to work with Paul Ellison, James Dunham, Tim Pitts, Desmond Hoebig, Michael Tilson Thomas, Richard Dowling, Ken Aiso, Patrick Summers, Ermanno Florio, Larry Rachleff, Peter Bay and Gil Shaham.