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University Advancement

Elizabeth Luttrell or
Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130
News Release Archives

Public Relations and Strategic Communications


Music Professor David Whitwell to Receive ‘Man of the Year’ Award
from the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Feb. 26, 2006) — Cal State Northridge’s emeritus professor of music and conductor of the Wind Ensemble, David Whitwell, has been selected to receive the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts’ "Man of the Year" award.

The AWAPA is a division of the National Band Association that recognizes commitment and excellence to the service of bands. A commission established by the AWAPA and the Board of Directors decides each candidate’s merit for the award each year. The award is considered to be the "Oscar" of the world of band music. The AWAPA silver nine-inch statuette also comes with a silver medallion and an engraved certificate. This award is the highest honor the National Band Association can bestow upon any individual.


"It was an honor I never expected, being the highest recognition in my field, and hence I was very surprised and humbled," Whitwell said.

Whitwell, who was a Northridge professor from 1969-2005, said his love of music was instilled by his mother, a gifted pianist, who encouraged him to play various instruments. After years playing music, Whitwell eventually turned to conducting. The biggest influence on Whitwell’s conducting career came when his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra led to an opportunity to study under its conductor, Eugene Ormandy. This, in turn, led to a career of conducting at colleges.

"During the time I was at CSUN we had one of the strongest student bodies in the nation," he said. "I always learned so much from CSUN students."

Whitwell has been leading student musicians for over 30 years. His work has drawn accolades from across the country. Whitwell is the first California conductor to receive the "Man of the Year" honor from the AWAPA. In addition to conducting, Whitwell has also dabbled in composing. One of his pieces, a symphony in memory of Mozart, has been performed all over Europe, most recently by a band in Germany.

Since he retired two years ago, Whitwell has received guest conducting engagements across the country and around the world. He has conducted in Texas, Florida, Virginia, Germany, Portugal and Italy. Next month, he will conduct in Arizona.

Cal State Northridge is home to several internationally acclaimed music ensembles, including its Symphony Orchestra, Jazz A Band, Wind Ensemble and the Northridge Singers. The university’s music department is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and is ranked in the top 25 accredited public university programs in the nation.

California State University, Northridge at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 / Phone: 818-677-1200 / © 2006 CSU Northridge