Ithaca College School of Music Inaugurates the Arnald Gabriel Visiting Wind Conductor Residency
ITHACA, NY—John Whitwell, director of bands emeritus at Michigan State University, will make two appearances at Ithaca College as the first Colonel Arnald Gabriel ’50 HDRMU ’89 Visiting Wind Conductor. Whitwell will conduct the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble on Wednesday, Dec. 6, and the concert and symphonic bands on Thursday, Dec. 7. Free and open to the public, the performances will start at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music at Ithaca College.
The Wednesday concert will feature guest violinist Susan Waterbury as the soloist in Kurt Weill’s concerto for violin and winds. A symphony by Ticheli and works by Wagner and Dello Joio will also be on the program. Stephen Peterson, the wind ensemble’s regular conductor, will conduct portions of the program. On Thursday, the bands will feature music of Bach, Holst, Ticheli, Welcher, and others, with Mark Fonder and Elizabeth Peterson sharing the conducting with Whitwell.
Col. Arnald Gabriel established the visiting conductor residency to bring an accomplished guest conductor from the wind field to campus annually. During the residency, the visiting conductor will provide lectures, meet individually with graduate students in wind conducting, rehearse the three bands and conduct their public performances.
The new residency reflects Gabriel’s lifelong dedication to wind music. A 1950 alumnus of the School of Music, he received an honorary doctorate from the college in 1989. Four years previously, Gabriel retired from the U.S. Air Force. During his 36-year career, he received three Legion of Merit awards for his service to the Air Force and to music education. In addition to serving as commander/conductor of the internationally renowned U.S. Air Force Band, Gabriel also directed the air force’s symphony orchestra and the Singing Sergeants. His many other honors include the Ithaca College Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented annually to a graduate who has achieved exceptional professional success.
Whitwell retired from Michigan State University in 2006 as a professor of music. He chaired the conducting area, conducted the wind symphony and guided the graduate degree programs in wind conducting. Whitwell previously held positions at Stephen F. Austin State University and Abilene Christian University.