Troy Webdell, Director of Youth Orchestras
Troy Webdell was selected to become the Director of Youth Orchestras for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in 2018. Under his leadership, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Orchestras have become the premiere orchestral experience for young musicians in Northern Indiana. The Youth Orchestras have been featured on PBS television in the USA and streamed online from China through an international cloud concert that has earned over 3 million views worldwide. Additionally, the Youth Symphony Orchestra's 2021 performance recording of music from Zorba the Greek has been selected to be included in the official Mikis Theodorakis Archive Museum in Athens, Greece. In June 2022, the Youth Symphony Orchestra will embark on a New York City performance tour and perform on the Isaac Stern Auditorium / Ronald O. Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.
Webdell is also the founder, music director, and conductor of South Shore Orchestra, a regional professional orchestra located in Valparaiso, Indiana. The South Shore Orchestra has performed numerous concerts throughout the USA and China featuring national and international guest artists. Webdell's interest in world music and culture has taken him on multiple orchestral concert tours throughout China to conduct in renown concert halls in over 40 major cities including Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Yangzhou, Ningbo, Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Cixi, and Zhengzhou, where his interpretations of the Chinese classical music repertoire have been received with critical acclaim. His orchestral concerts have been nationally televised and broadcast on CCTV throughout China and the USA. In 2013, Webdell conducted the world premiere and 26 performances of Max Lee’s modern interpretation of the Chinese classic opera Romance of the Western Chamber which was completely sung and spoken in Mandarin Chinese. In 2015, Webdell and the SSO performed a sold-out celebration concert in Chicago's Symphony Center for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The concert featured a 600 member Chinese chorus and SSO performing Xian Xinghai's Yellow River Cantata, the American premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Since We Parted, and was broadcast internationally via radio from Chicago to China. In January 2018, Webdell was invited to conduct the inaugural concert at the opening of the new Ulanhot Grand Theatre in Ulanhot, Inner Mongolia which also featured the world premiere of Xiao He’s Long Song.
As an award-winning conductor, Webdell has earned acclaim for his orchestral conducting in the USA and China, receiving outstanding musical/orchestral direction awards for staged and concert productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2001 & 2004), Jason Robert Brown’s PARADE (2005), and Mitch Leigh’s Man of La Mancha (2006). In 2015, Webdell was awarded the “Global Harmony Through Music” award from the Confucius Institute (Beijing) for his work and dedication to create cultural understanding and acceptance through music.
Webdell has been a music educator for over 30 years and a collaborator in developing El Sistema based youth orchestras in the USA, interactive educational symphony concerts, and community "Unity Event" concerts featuring over 500 community chorus and orchestra musicians. As a conducting clinician and guest speaker, Webdell has presented clinics at the International Music and Confucianism Symposium and at the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA) Festivals and State Conventions including an instrumental conducting clinic entitled “Conducting Musicians Expressively,” and a music composition clinic entitled "Composing Kids!" In 2017, Webdell was named the Honorary Director of Orchestral Programs for the Nanjing Qinxing Arts Academy in Nanjing which has recently become one of the largest music academies in China.