School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Oakland Symphony Orchestra to present 25th Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert

OU student musicians will join OSO on Feb. 19

icon of a calendarFebruary 6, 2023

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Oakland Symphony Orchestra to present 25th Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert
Joseph Walters, Olivia Donnel and Tyler Hewett
Soloists Joseph Walters, Olivia Donnel and Tyler Hewett will join the Oakland Symphony Orchestra for the 25h Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert on Feb. 19.

The Oakland Symphony Orchestra will present its 25th Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

“Named after Professor Emeritus David Daniels in recognition of his distinguished career at Oakland University and sustained commitment to teaching Oakland University’s aspiring student musicians, the concert is always an annual highlight of the OSO season,” said Gregory Cunningham, music director of the OSO and professor of orchestral and wind conducting at OU.

The Young Artists Concert program will feature three solo student performances by the winners of the 2022-23 Oakland University Concerto and Aria Competition, an annual, highly competitive, two-tiered music competition in which students from OU's Department of Music compete for the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the OSO.

Past winners of this prestigious OU event have gone on to pursue critically acclaimed careers, with alumni having performed with the world's most recognized organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Paris Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Opera House, Salzburg Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin Lincoln Center, Lyric Opera (Chicago), Chicago Civic Orchestra, New York City Opera, etc. 

This year’s winners include:

• Joseph Walters (piano) - Piano Concerto No. 3 in d minor, op. 30, III. Finale (alla breve) by Sergei Rachmaninoff

• Olivia Donnel (soprano) – Oh smania! Oh furie...D'Oreste, d'Ajace" from Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

• Tyler Hewett (saxophone) - Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra by Andre Wagnein "

“When I first heard this piece last winter in my saxophone repertoire course, I was completely mesmerized; from the technical flourishes to the gorgeous melodies, it has been an absolute delight to learn this concerto,” said Hewett, a second-year graduate student at OU. “I am extremely blessed for the opportunity to perform alongside Dr. Cunningham and the Oakland Symphony Orchestra this month! I hope that audience members experience the emotion that this music has provided me over the last year.”

Donnel said she is excited about the opportunity to perform with the OSO on Feb. 19.

“This is just one of the many valuable opportunities provided by the school of music for young musicians and I am incredibly thankful to have this experience,” she said. ”Exploring the character of Elettra and portraying the wide range of emotional depth within this aria has been a challenging and rewarding process. I look forward to sharing her story.”

Other works to be performed by the OSO include Dust Devils by Vivian Fung and Enigma Variations, op. 36 by Edward Elgar.

Due to the renovation of Varner Hall, the concert will be held at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, which is located at 44575 Garfield Road in Clinton Township, Mich.

Tickets for the performance are $12 for students and $22 for general admission, and can be purchased online at

For more information about Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance programs and performances, call (248) 370-2030 or visit

About the Artists

Joseph Walters is a current graduate student at Oakland University pursuing a degree in piano performance. During his undergrad, also at Oakland University, he was a winner of the concerto competition where he performed Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto. Walters has also participated in several music festivals, and has been a finalist in international competitions in the past. Currently he has his own private teaching studio and works as a collaborative pianist, as well.

Olivia Donnel, a Southwest Missouri native is a second year graduate student at Oakland University, and holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. In 2019, Donnel performed the role of Inez in the Southern Illinois Music Festival production of Verdi’s II Trovatore. She was awarded an Encouragement Award from the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council district auditions in St. Louis, Mo. and appeared as Chrysothemis in the 2021 Dramatic Voices Program of Berlin production of Strauss’ Elektra. Donnel was named a Gordon Nelson Scholar with the Detroit Concert Choir in 2021 and again in 2022. This May she is excited to make her Fiordiligi debut in the Oakland University School of Music, Theatre and Dance’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Tyler Hewett is currently pursuing his master’s degree in saxophone performance under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey Heisler. In 2021, he graduated with honors at the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in music education. During his undergraduate with Dr. Adam Estes, Hewett was an active soloist and ensemble performer, showcasing his dedication throughout many conferences and competition. One performance highlight from these years includes performing Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche with the university’s orchestra in 2019. At Oakland, Hewett, is engaged with the school’s Wind Symphony and the Disassembly Saxophone Quartet. In 2022, he was recognized as the Band Concerto Competition Winner, performing Ingolf Dahl’s Concerto with the Wind Symphony. He was also the 2022 MaTilDa recipient in Graduate Performance. Outside of Oakland, Hewett serves as an active teacher. He is active in multiple public schools throughout the Metro-Detroit area, where he provided masterclasses and private lessons.

About David Daniels

Professor Emeritus David Daniels, who passed away on April 24, 2020, taught music for 28 years at Oakland University — including three years as chair of the former Department of Music and three years as chair of the then newly-formed Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.

An accomplished and devoted musician throughout his life, Daniels holds degrees from Oberlin College, Boston University, and the University of Iowa, where he earned his Ph.D. in orchestral literature and conducting. 

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.

In addition to teaching, Daniels was well known for his orchestral conducting. He conducted the Oakland University Orchestra from ​1969 to 1997, ​ and the Warren Symphony Orchestra from ​1973 to 2010. Daniels also conducted opera with the Boston Academy of Music for many years, where his performances were five times named “Best Opera of the Year” by the ​Boston Globe. Other guest conducting appearances included the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Meadow Brook Festival Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfonia de Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Over his​ lifetime, Daniels wrote and edited five editions of the acclaimed reference book ​Daniels’ Orchestral Music,​ first published in 1972. The book is widely regarded as essential to any conductor’s reference collection.

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