Two brothers, David and Steven White, will conduct two different artist series events this semester: the Georgia Boy Choir and the opera Aida.
David White, the artistic director and conductor of the Georgia Boy Choir, will open this semester’s artist series events with a performance on Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium. His brother, Steven White, will conduct three performances of Aida on March 18, 20 and 22.
Both White brothers were born at Barge Memorial Hospital on campus. Their parents were members of the music faculty at the University. The brothers spent their elementary, junior high and high school years attending Bob Jones Academy.
David White attended BJU but later graduated from Georgia College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in voice performance. After graduating, he spent his time training boys and young men to sing. In 1994, he founded the Boy Choir of the Carolinas in Greenville, S.C., according to georgiaboychoir.org. Four years later, he became the music director of Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
White continued from 2001 to 2009 as the artistic director and conductor of the Atlanta Boy Choir in Atlanta, Ga. Along with a career as a professional conductor of various boy choirs, White served as the conductor of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra Chorus and director of music at the Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville. He also founded an annual summer music camp in Greenville for children and adults.
White’s choirs have participated in many festivals such as the Prague International Choral Festival and the Anchorage Choral Festival. His choirs have also toured throughout the United States, as well as Austria, Italy, Greece and Russia.
White is currently the Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Georgia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as the artistic director and conductor of the Georgia Boy Choir.
Maestro Steven White received his bachelor’s degree in music from BJU in 1985 and later received his master’s degree in music from the University of South Carolina.
The legacy of the late Dr. Dwight Gustafson, then dean of the School of Fine Arts, made an impact on White’s decision to become a conductor. “I always wanted to be a conductor,” he said, “but I didn’t know how to go about doing it.”
He later found that learning how to play different musical instruments and studying music from different points of view was how he learned how to conduct. “All that musical experience in different kinds of areas is the training you need to be a conductor,” he said.
White received his first professional conducting job in Miami with the Florida Grand Opera. Since then, he has conducted various operas and orchestras such as the Metropolitan Opera and the Moscow Philharmonic. He currently works at the Metropolitan Opera, conducting various operas and symphonic orchestras. One of his events for this year will be the opera Aida performed at BJU. White will be the first guest conductor to conduct a performance of Aida at BJU.
For both White brothers, coming back to perform at the University has special meaning, according to Steven. “It is a great opportunity and means a lot for both of us.”
He views the opportunity as a way to pay respect to the late Dr. Dwight Gustafson and to his parents who met at the University and served together as members of the faculty for more than 27 years. “It’s a tribute to our parents as much as anything else,” he said.