Commanday joins Eureka College

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

David Commanday, the founding artistic director and conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, was named artist-in-residence at Eureka College effective Feb. 1.

Commanday will work with faculty and staff to explore new opportunities in performing arts programming at the college, according to Eureka College Provost Philip Acree Cavalier.

"Eureka College has a long history of offering outstanding fine and performing arts programs in central Illinois,” Cavalier said. “In his new role, Mr. Commanday will help us develop even more new and exciting programs that will enhance the arts in Eureka."

Funding for the new position came from donations from arts supporters in central Illinois.

“I am very pleased and honored by this appointment, and I look forward to working with Philip Acree Cavalier, Joseph Henry and the faculty in realizing a vision for artistic and cultural growth at Eureka College,” Commanday said.

“In my new role, I expect to bring more music and special events to the campus, expanding the students' experience of the arts and enhancing the resources of the college.”

Commanday directs the Heartland Festival Orchestra, which was formed in 2009 and offers a five-concert subscription series at the Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points Washington. He also is the newly appointed conductor of the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra at Webster University’s Community Music School in St. Louis. 

He is active as a guest conductor, appearing recently with the Washington (D.C.) Ballet, the Longwood Symphony of Boston and the Boca Raton Sinfonia. He maintains a cello studio and continues to concertize, performing with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Matt Haimovitz and most recently with pianist Adam Neiman in recital at Eureka College.          

Commanday was music director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2009. His earlier positions include associate conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, music director of the Boston Ballet and assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony. 

He graduated cum laude from Harvard College, studying psychology, music and languages. He received his master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Vienna Academy of Music with Unanimous Distinction. He is a teaching and conducting clinician throughout the United States.  Most recently he has been engaged by the Singapore Ministry of Education to consult on management of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, where he will return this spring.