A conversation with Maestro Andre' Raphel

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André Raphel has established a reputation as an exciting and versatile conductor through innovative programming, a commitment to American music, and fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire. Described by the New York Times as “An agile, demonstrative conductor who is physically drawn into the music,” Mr. Raphel is currently in his ninth season as Music Director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

Born André Raphel Smith in Durham, North Carolina he began formal music lessons at age 11. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami, and pursued further study at Yale University where he earned his Master’s Degree. While at Yale, he began conducting studies with Otto-Werner Mueller. He continued studies with Mueller at The Curtis Institute of Music earning a Diploma in conducting and at The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and received an Advanced Certificate in orchestral conducting.

A guest conductor at major music festivals, André Raphel has led programs at the Blossom Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also appeared at the National Orchestral Institute, Grant Park Music Festival, Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute, Brevard Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the Campos do Jordao Festival in Brazil.

In 2010, The Philadelphia Orchestra issued a special commemorative CD featuring William Grant Still’s Symphony No.1 with Mr. Raphel conducting. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Service Award from Yale University. In 2004, he was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from West Liberty University. Mr. Raphel has received Honorary Commendations from the cities of Philadelphia and Saint Louis. In 2001, he was awarded the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” by the North Carolina Senate. The award, presented annually is the state’s highest honor for a civilian.

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