Dawson White (Viola)
Dawson White is a violist whose musical career is centered around positive change, with special focus on connecting with audiences and developing authentic sound and creative business mindset in his students. These values have led to performances from Walt Disney Hall to Carnegie Hall and resident viola positions in the Houston Grand Opera/Ballet orchestras and the University of St. Thomas (Houston).
Dawson’s dedication to viola performance is most obvious in his extensive experience as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician. He was a National Finalist at the MTNA Solo Competition in Toronto (2007), served as Assistant Principal in the inaugural YouTube Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Carnegie Hall (2009), Principal Violist with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Walt Disney Hall (2017), and performed with the Houston Ballet Orchestra as Principal Viola (2019). He is a past member of the Axiom and Kolonneh Quartets and currently performs as guest artist with the Fidelis Quartet.
A dedicated teaching artist, Mr. White has been on faculty at Sam Houston State University, Lone Star College-Tomball and has a studio of advanced high school and college students with numerous alumni holding prestigious positions. Dawson currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas where he has helped develop the string program through performance, pedagogy, and entrepreneurship courses, high school workshops and a study abroad program to Italy.
Entrepreneurial in spirit, Dawson has been involved in the genesis of many artistic pursuits including the formation of the Cypress Symphony, Axiom Quartet, New Art/New Music concert series, and the Houston Viola Society all before the age of 30. He often served as (co-)founder, board member, curriculum developer and obtained 501(c)3 non-profit and trademarking status in several instances. White has been invited to speak about the art of entrepreneurship at Rice, Baylor and Northwestern Universities, he contributed to the Journal of the American Viola Society and later received a nomination to serve on its’ Board of Directors.
Dawson White is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Viola Performance and Music Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas where he studies classical viola with Dr. Susan Dubois and jazz viola with Scott Tixier. He earned a masters degree in viola performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he studied with Ivo-Jan van der Werff. During undergraduate studies at Baylor University with Dr. Kathryn Steely, White received the Dean’s Award and Donald I. Moore Award for Best Musical Performance. Other significant pedagogical influences include Helen Callus, Joan DerHovsepian, Wayne Brooks, and Ruth Morrow.
Dawson performs on a modern viola by David Polstein & Christopher White, a 2012 Violin Society of America Award winner. He spends his summers teaching and performing at the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival in California, Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy and Musiktage am Rhein in Germany.