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The Wilmington Symphony celebrated Steven Errante’s 25th anniversary as conductor with a performance of his original work on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Kenan Auditorium.
The Wilmington Symphony celebrated the 25th anniversary of conductor and University of North Carolina Wilmington music professor Steven Errante Saturday,
Feb. 11 and marked decades of unmatched leadership in the Wilmington music community.
Last Saturday evening, the Wilmington Symphony performed two of Errante’s original compositions.
"I am sort of throwing a party for myself by doing one of my pieces," he said jokingly a day before the performance.
Above all, Errante wanted his music to connect with the audience. He said, "That is the main reason I write music. It is a form of expression."
Errante began his studies in music composition at the University of Michigan, where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees. He later obtained his doctorate from the Julliard School.
Before joining UNCW’s staff in 1986, and subsequently becoming the orchestra’s conductor, Errante taught at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. He then moved to North Michigan University and then the University of Richmond. At UNCW, Errante teaches upper level music theory courses, composition and musical scoring.
During his 25 years as the conductor of the Wilmington Symphony, Errante has seen many musicians pass through its roster. Some were older, veteran musicians. Others are young high school and college students that he watched blossom into accomplished musicians.
"Membership of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra grows and evolves, so it has really been kind of a changing picture," Errante said.
As for the future of the Wilmington Symphony, there is still much that Errante would like to achieve. First and foremost, he hopes to continue to develop the orchestra’s level of quality.
"Our musical goal is always to get better," he said.
But, he explained, this is not the orchestra’s only goal. During his tenure, Errante watched the orchestra grow from a small group of musicians playing for personal enjoyment to an orchestra that connects with the community.
"We are trying to break out of our box at Kenan Auditorium and find ways of getting classical music into the community," Errante said. "I think over the years we changed … we exist to serve the audience," he said.
Errante’s passion for music can be felt throughout the Wilmington community. In addition to his roles as an educator and conductor, Errante was the founding conductor of the Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra and is the accompanist for the Girls Choir of Wilmington.
The youth orchestra involves about 65 high school musicians, which Errante said invites more members of the community to come and enjoy the orchestra music.
"We want to make the connection between what we do and the Wilmington community stronger," he said.
Errante has demonstrated talented leadership and an energetic passion for education and premier performance throughout the course of his career. It is these characteristics that will further cultivate the classical music culture in Wilmington for many more years to come.