West Virginia State University Student Wins International Music Conductors Competition

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
July 16, 2019
West Virginia State University Student Wins International Music Conductors Competition

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University (WVSU) music performance major Christopher Rasmussen has won a prestigious, international competition for music conductors.

Rasmussen won the 10th summer International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, which took place June 21-23.

This popular, intensive workshop and competition is open to conductors at all levels of experience. During the competition, each participant conducted a professional orchestra for up to 60 minutes throughout the workshop and in a public performance on Sunday, June 23.  

Rasmussen said he was well prepared for the international competition and credited WVSU, the Department of Music, and Dr. Scott Woodard, associate provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“No one gets the opportunity to conduct as an undergraduate but through the Charleston Chamber Orchestra at the University I was able to have those opportunities,” said Rasmussen, who grew up in Charleston and is a graduate of George Washington High School. “That’s the best part about the University, having those opportunities available to you and taking advantage of them. We might be small, but we can compete against anyone at the highest level.”

The Charleston Chamber Orchestra is housed at WVSU and features students and faculty as well as members of the community. In the past the group has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. as well as on campus and throughout the Kanawha Valley. Rasmussen is the assistant director of the Orchestra.

Along with winning the competition, Rasmussen will get the opportunity to guest conduct the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra during the current or a future season.

Past winners of the competition have gained positions with the Cincinnati, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Detroit, New Jersey, Houston, Richmond, Portland (ME), St. Louis, Oregon, Hamilton, Canada and Minnesota Orchestras. 

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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