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Professor Cole not conducting business as usual

Students attend the multiple
concerts the orchestra department
performs, but what do they know
about the conductor? Who is the
mysterious man with his back turned
to the audience, passionately leading
the ensemble?
Professor David Cole is the director
of orchestral activities and visiting
assistant professor of music at Florida
Gulf Coast University.
He conducts the orchestra with
great credibility. Originally a violinist,
he attended and obtained performance
and education degrees from multiple
schools, with a bachelor’s in music
education from West Virginia
University, a master’s in orchestral
conducting from University of Iowa,
a master’s in violin performance from
Baylor University and a doctorate
in orchestral conducting from the
University of Arizona.
His music career began when he
applied for a job at a public school in
Waco, Texas. Little did he know, his
simple career would lead to greater
He received jobs with universities
and soon after, conducting and
performing opportunities with
professional orchestras all over the
“I’ve conducted orchestras on
tour in Puerto Rico, England and
Wales, and I’ve played in professional
orchestras in Michigan, Arizona,
Ontario and Texas,” Cole said.
His experience noted, he received
the honor of conducting the National
Anthem that was played during
medal ceremonies at the 2002 Winter
Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Cole now serves FGCU as a
temporary conductor. Since fall
semester of 2012, he has helped
guide aspiring music education and
performance majors toward their
goals. He inspires non-music majors
to continue playing their instruments
by accepting them into the orchestra
program with open arms.
When violist Sara Burley was
asked how she would feel when Cole
leaves, she stated simply that she
would miss him.
“Our current and past conductors,
although temporary, have all been
great directors and have contributed
tremendously to our growth as an
ensemble,” Burley said.
Here are some interesting musical
facts about Cole that many students
are unaware of:
•He conducted at high elevations in
Bogota, Colombia (9000 feet above sea
level); and La Paz, Bolivia (14,000 feet
above sea level).
•He conducted world-premiere
performances of eight orchestral
works, including the “Suite for
Strings” by Matthew Saunders. FGCU
premiered this piece in Spring 2013
with Cole.
•He has performed as a violinist,
violist and chamber music player
in England, Bolivia and all over the
United States.
•He once portrayed The Devil in a
performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “The
Soldier’s Tale.”
•He conducted an orchestra while
wearing a Viking helmet.
•Ten minutes before the concert
began, he was asked to substitute for
the narrator of “Lincoln Portrait” by
Aaron Copeland.
•He threw the first pitch at a minor
league baseball game while wearing
his tuxedo.

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