David Whitwell (b. 25 October 1937, Armore, Okla.) is an American conductor and composer.
Dr. Whitwell is a graduate (‘with distinction’) of the University of Michigan and the Catholic University of America, Washington DC (PhD, Musicology, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2000) and has done post-graduate study at the University of Vienna and has studied conducting with Eugene Ormandy and at the Akademie fur Musik, Vienna. Prior to coming to Northridge, Dr. Whitwell participated in concerts throughout the United States and Asia as associate first horn in the United States Air Force Band and Orchestra in Washington D.C., and in recitals throughout South America in cooperation with the United States State Department.
At the California State University, Northridge, which is near Los Angeles, Dr. Whitwell developed the CSUN Wind Ensemble into an ensemble of international reputation, with international tours to Europe in 1981 and 1989 and to Japan in 1984.
Dr. Whitwell has been a guest professor in 100 different universities and conservatories throughout the United States and in 23 foreign countries. Guest conducting experiences have included the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Radio Orchestras of Brno and Bratislava, The National Youth Orchestra of Israel, as well as resident wind ensembles in Russia, Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, England, Wales, The Netherlands, Portugal, Peru, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Canada and the United States.
He is a past president of the College Band Directors National Association, a member of the Prasidium of the International Society for the Promotion of Band Music, and was a member of the founding board of directors of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE). In 1964 he was made an honorary life member of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national professional music fraternity. In September, 2001, he was a delegate to the UNESCO Conference on Global Music in Tokyo. He has been knighted by sovereign organizations in France, Portugal and Scotland and has been awarded the gold medal of Kerkrade, The Netherlands, and the silver medal of Wangen, Germany, the highest honor given wind conductors in the United States, the medal of the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts (National Band Association) and the highest honor given wind conductors in Austria, the gold medal of the Austrian Band Association. He is a member of the Hall of Fame of the California Music Educators Association.
Dr. Whitwell’s publications include more than 127 articles on wind literature including publications in Music and Letters (London), the London Musical Times, the Mozart-Jahrbuch (Salzburg), and 39 books, among which is his 13-volume History and Literature of the Wind Band and Wind Ensemble and an 8-volume series on Aesthetics in Music. In addition to numerous modern editions of early wind band music his original compositions include five symphonies.
David Whitwell was named as one of six men who have determined the course of American bands during the second half of the 20th century, in the definitive history, The Twentieth Century American Wind Band (Meredith Music). A doctoral dissertation by German Gonzales (2007, Arizona State University) is dedicated to the life and conducting career of David Whitwell through the year 1977. David Whitwell is one of nine men described by Paula A. Crider in The Conductor’s Legacy (Chicago: GIA, 2010) as ‘the legendary conductors’ of the 20th century.
Works for Winds
- Begräbnisgesang (as editor) (1858/2014)
- Chorale Variations on “Vater unser im Himmelreich” (2010)
- Commemoration Symphony (as transcriber) (1815/197-?)
- Gentle Winds Over Virginia (2020)
- Huldigungsmarsch (as editor) (1864/2015)
- Jubilaum! (2017)
- Lyric Symphony (1987)
- Music of the Spheres (2013)
- Music to Begin a Celebration (2016)
- Ode to the End of the Plague (2020)
- A Pastoral in Memory of Gentler Times Past (2022)
- Symphony No. I, "A Viennese Legacy" (1987)
- Symphony No. II, "Sinfonia da Requiem" (1988)
- Symphony No. III, "Meditations on Hamlet" (1989/2016)
- Symphony No. IV, "Symphony of Songs" (1990)
- Symphony No. V, "Sinfonia Italia" (1990)
- Symphony No. VI, "States of Mind" (2016)
- Symphony No. VII, "Renaissance Memories" (2018)
- Symphony No. VIII, "The Quintessence of Emotions" (2018)
- Symphony No. IX (2020)
- Three Civil War Reflections
- David Whitwell website Accessed 3 May 2018
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "David Whitwell." Accessed 3 May 2018