Thursday, January 15, 2009
OU professor emeritus earns distinguished service award
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant
|David Daniels, a longtime professor of music at OU, recently received the Award for Distinguished Service from the Conductors Guild.|
David Daniels, a longtime professor of music at OU, was recently honored by the Conductors Guild for his outstanding contributions to the art and profession of conducting. Daniels received the Award for Distinguished Service in recognition of his longstanding career, which has spanned more than four decades.
During his 28 years at OU, Daniels taught a wide array of courses, including music history, music theory, music appreciation, orchestration and conducting. His six-year tenure as department chair saw the Department of Music successfully merge with the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Despite his instrumental role in shaping the department, Daniels recalls how his time at OU almost never happened.
“They had advertised for a composer who could also conduct the orchestra,” Daniels said. “I threw it in the wastebasket because I’m not very serious as a composer.”
However, the next morning, he retrieved the ad and decided to apply.
“I got the job,” he said, noting that he especially cherished his role as a guide and mentor to students over the years.
While at OU, Daniels also spent 12 years conducting opera for a production company called the Boston Academy of Music. He said he was able to leave OU for a couple of weeks at a time to conduct operas of Verdi, Donizetti, Puccini and Strauss, among other famous composers.
“It was a great company and very rewarding,” Daniels said. “Five of the operas I conducted were chosen by the Boston Globe for Best Opera Performance of the Year in Boston.”
After retiring from OU in 1997, Daniels remained active in the local community as director of the Warren Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since the group was formed in 1974. He plans to step down from that position in 2010.
Daniels established his professional reputation with a book he published in 1972 titled “Orchestral Music.” The book, now in its fourth edition, is also available by subscription online, where it is updated monthly. It is widely regarded as essential to any conductor’s reference collection.
“'Orchestral Music' is on the shelf of every conductor I know,” said Sandra Dackow, president of the Conductors Guild. “Mr. Daniels has given the profession a great gift by collecting and verifying a myriad of details concerning the music we perform, and making this available to conductors, orchestras and librarians throughout the world.”