June 7, 2014 — 6:30 Gala

June 7  6:30 PM:  Tickets, Directions, More on the Concert

1st half of Concert in Celebration Hall;
2nd half at adjacent Lake Pavilion

“Gala Concert”

Virtuosi Chamber Strings, David Stewart Wiley, Conductor
Akemi Takayama, Violin
Jeff Midkiff, Composer and Mandolin
Blacksburg Community Band, Jay Durner, Music Director

Part 1:  Celebration Hall — Virtuosi Chamber Strings

Karl Jenkins    Palladio (The DeBeers “Diamond” music)

Antonio Vivaldi     “Spring” Concerto from The Four Seasons
Akemi Takayama and Ensemble

Jeff Midkiff      Preview excerpt from Double Concerto for Mandolin & Violin
Akemi Takayama, Jeff Midkiff, and Ensemble

Jeff Midkiff      Run For Your Life (2014, Premiere)
Akemi Takayama, Jeff Midkiff, and Ensemble

Astor Piazzolla      Primavera Portena (“Spring”) from The Four Seasons of
Buenos Aires
                Akemi Takayama and Ensemble

Akemi Takayama, violin
Jeff Midkiff, composer/mandolin
Elise Blake, violin
Geronimo Oyenard, violin
Bernard DiGregorio, viola
Kelley Mikkelson, cello
John Smith, bass
Tracy Cowden, piano


Part II: Outside at Adjacent Lake Pavilion – Blacksburg Community Band

“Sunset Serenade”               Jay Durner, Conductor
Selections to be announced from the podium

Post-concert food and wine reception/Meet the Artists, immediately following

$20 in advance – $23 at the door — Students half price

Tickets may be purchased:
— online by credit card via the link below

— in person by cash or check at The Jacksonville Center in Floyd
— by credit card charged over the phone 540.745.2784 (Jacksonville Center).

The tickets for each concert will be available for pick up
at the concert venue.

After 4 pm, June 6th — Purchase Tickets ‘At Door’

Consider getting a Weekend Pass to all three Concerts.

Internet Tickets


Floyd EcoVillage – Celebration Hall, at 188 EcoVillage Trail, Floyd, VA, is just a short distance off Franklin Pike. The turn onto EcoVillage Trail is 1.25 miles on Franklin Pike from Floyd Highway North (Rt 221 N).  For MapQuest and GPS systems, use the address ‘718 Franklin Pike, Floyd, VA’ to locate the turn onto EcoVillage Trail – then follow signs.

Map Directions to Floyd EcoVillage



Akemi Takayama, Concertmaster

Akemi Takayama,

Violinist, Akemi Takayama has served as the concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra since 2004. Ms. Takayama appears regularly as soloist and concertmaster of the RSO, and Williamsburg Symphonia as well as an active chamber musician and associate professor at the Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music where she holds the Victor Brown Endowed Chair. She was also invited to teach at Oberlin College throughout the Fall of 2012. Ms. Takayama was a member of the internationally renowned Audubon Quartet for fourteen years while the group toured regionally and nationally. Her recordings with the Audubon Quartet include four CDs, all available on the Centaur and Composers Recordings labels.

Born to musical parents in Tokyo, Japan, Takayama began her violin studies with her mother at the age of three. Her professional violin career began in Japan at the age of 15. She has performed throughout Japan, France, and the U.S., including appearances with the Shinsei-Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toho School of Music Orchestra, and on a “FM Recital” broadcast throughout Japan on NHK Radio. She also has performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Yomiuri Philharmonic Orchestra, Music at Gretna, and with the New World Symphony Orchestra. Her solo performances in the U.S. have included radio and TV appearances in the greater Cleveland area and with the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Junction Orchestra, and the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.

Akemi Takayama’s recent solo performances with orchestras include Daugherty’s Fire and Blood and Ladder to the Moon, Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Pärt’s Fratres, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and Brahms’s Double Concerto for violin and cello, Mozart’s Violin Concerto, Bach Concerto, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, and Roskott’s Violin Concerto. She has performed at and served on the faculties of the Chautauqua Institute in New York, the Idyllwild School of the Arts in California, the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Shenandoah Performs in Virginia and at Virginia Tech. During her graduate studies, Akemi was a teaching assistant to the renowned Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned both an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree. Previously, she studied with Toshiya Eto and Ryosaku Kubota at the renowned Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where she earned her bachelor degree in music performance. She also studied with Brian Hanly at the University of Wyoming where she earned her professional studies degree. Ms. Takayama won a position in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival and the Isaac Stern Music Workshop. The late Isaac Stern said of Ms. Takayama “she is a true musician and will always bring credit to any group that she works with.” Akemi indeed brings great credit to the RSO and to our region.

Ms. Takayama plays a J.B. Ceruti violin from Cremona, Italy, made in 1805.



Jeff Midkiff, Mandolinist and Composer

Jeff Midkiff, Mandolin– “I feel at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains playing fiddle tunes,” Jeff Midkiff says, “but then again, I feel at home in a professional orchestra as well.” A mandolinist and fiddler raised on bluegrass and a professional clarinetist, Jeff Midkiff is an outstanding musician who feels comfortable in more than one setting—musically and personally.

Jeff grew up where bluegrass and traditional string band music thrived. Given his first mandolin at the age of 7 by a neighbor (Sherman Poff, to whose memory Partners In Time is dedicated), he moved quickly into the world of fiddlers’ conventions and contests, winning his first mandolin competition before reaching his teens.

As he grew older, he added the fiddle to his instrumental arsenal and joined the New Grass Revue—yet at the same time, he took up the clarinet and began to perform with his high school’s symphonic band.

Even as he was immersing himself in the classical repertoire, he continued to gain attention as a mandolin and fiddle player.

By the time he graduated he had his sights firmly set on a musical career, and in 1981 Midkiff began studies at Virginia Tech, eventually earning a degree in music education and performance. Yet even as he was immersing himself in the classical repertoire, he continued to gain attention as a mandolin and fiddle player with the McPeak Brothers, a widely respected bluegrass group with whom he made his first serious recording in 1982 (five selections from that album are included on Rebel Records’ McPeak Brothers: Classic Bluegrass CD).

In 1983 he joined the Lonesome River Band, which would eventually become one of bluegrass’s most acclaimed groups. For the next five years, as he completed his education and started working as a music instructor, he performed with the LRB, recording two albums with the group, including its self-titled Rebel Records debut in 1987. Shortly after that, he enrolled in graduate school at Northern Illinois University, earning his Master’s degree in clarinet at the end of the decade—but though the move meant leaving the LRB, he continued to perform with an Illinois bluegrass band, Bluegrass Express.

During the early part of the 1990s, Jeff lived in Florida and performed clarinet with the Naples Philharmonic and later moved to northern Virginia area to be an orchestra director in the Fairfax County schools. “I went a good five years without opening my mandolin case,” he notes, “and as a full-time teacher in northern Virginia, I wasn’t playing much clarinet, either.” An appearance with the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall reawakened his passion for the latter, and in 1995 he moved to the Chicago area to revive his performance career — on the clarinet only, he thought, but ultimately on the mandolin and fiddle, too. Busy as a clarinetist with area ensembles and as a youth orchestra conductor and educator, he was drafted in 1998 by The Schankman Twins, a California-based bluegrass duo now signed to Rounder Records.

“All of a sudden I was getting these ideas for tunes, and as soon as I started getting creative, I thought, I need to start recording.”He was writing a lot, too. “All of a sudden I was getting these ideas for tunes, and as soon as I started getting creative, I thought, I need to start recording.” He has appeared (several times) with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on mandolin, and likewise in the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s clarinet section since 1980. In 2006, Jeff moved back to his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. Jeff is an orchestra director in the Roanoke City Schools.

Jeff Midkiff’s concerto for mandolin and orchestra, “From the Blue Ridge,” was composed in 2011 as a commission from Music Director David Stewart Wiley and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. The first performance was opening night of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s Fall 2011 season, and was immediately hailed as an exciting and necessary addition to the concerto repertoire for mandolin and orchestra, and received standing ovations. Since its premiere, three major U.S. orchestras have scheduled performances in the 2012-2013 season, in addition to the upcoming June 2nd performance at Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival.



David Stewart Wiley, Artistic Director

Artistic Director & Conductor of our Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival, David Stewart Wiley, serves concurrently as Music Director & Conductor of New York’s Long Island Philharmonic and Virginia’s Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (RSO.com). Active as a guest conductor, pianist, arranger and film composer, Wiley has guest conducted acclaimed symphonies including Boston, Buffalo, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Saint Louis, Atlanta, Oregon, Honolulu, and Utah, among many others in 35 U.S. states. Wiley’s music career has taken him to dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has previously served as Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Among his diverse activities, he created and leads an acclaimed event with business executives and musicians together on stage titled “Conducting Change” which helps executives to model leadership skills in a fun and engaging atmosphere.

2012 saw the international release of the film “Lake Effects” starring Jane Seymour, featuring a symphonic soundtrack played by the RSO conducted by David Stewart Wiley with new original music by Boyle and Wiley. In the fall of 2012, Wiley hosted another trip to Europe culminating with a performance at the Liszt Academy in Budapest.

David’s U.S. Summer Music Festival conducting appearances include Aspen, Brevard, The Music Academy of the West, Tanglewood, Park City, Minnesota Orchestra Summerfest, Indianapolis Symphony on the Prairie, and many others. From 1999 until 2006, Wiley was the Artistic Director & Conductor of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, where he founded the Festival Orchestra and Academy. His seven years at Wintergreen as artistic director and conductor were a time of remarkable artistic and financial growth for WPA, where he programmed and led over 100 performances of symphony, jazz, chamber music, and educational concerts.

Wiley’s CDs include an album of French cello concerti with Zuill Bailey & the Roanoke Symphony on Delos International, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Choral”, American Piano Concertos with Norman Krieger on Artisie 4, “David Wiley & Friends: Classical Jazz”, “American Trumpet Concertos” with the Slovak Radio Symphony and Paul Neebe, and violin/piano duo CD “Preludes & Lullabies” with Akemi Takayama.

Wiley holds a Doctor and Master of Music in Conducting from Indiana University, a degree in Piano Performance with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a degree in Religion, summa cum laude, from Tufts University. Wiley was honored by the NAACP as Citizen of the Year in the Arts, and he is a recipient of the Perry F. Kendig Prize for service to the arts.

As a solo pianist, Wiley has performed with numerous major orchestras throughout the United States including Minnesota, Indianapolis, Oregon, Honolulu, Wheeling, and at the Aspen, Garth Newel, Wintergreen, and Prince Albert (Hawaii) summer festivals. He has also appeared as a jazz pianist in Boston’s Symphony Hall and in recital appearances throughout the U.S. as well as in China, Russia, Romania, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Bulgaria.

Wiley collaborates with a diversity of well-known solo artists and groups in the Classical and Pops world, including Billy Joel, Sir James Galway, Jessye Norman, Midori, Lynn Harrell, John Williams, Andre Watts, Jon Nakamatsu, Eiji Oue, Norman Krieger, Zuill Bailey, Giora Schmidt, Christian Zacharias, Orly Shaham, Bernadette Peters, Bruce Hornsby, Jennifer Holliday, Marvin Hamlisch, Mercedes Ellington, Lou Rawls, Doc Severinsen, Aaron Neville, Michael McDonald, Art Garfunkel, the Pointer Sisters, Ben Vereen, Kool & the Gang, Cirque, Jeans n’ Classics, Boz Skaggs, Billy Ocean, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, The Moscow Ballet, and the Sounds of Blackness.


Jay Durner

Jay Durner, Director, Blacksburg Community Band

Jay Durner began his music evolution from performer to teacher, director, and conductor at an early age. His lifelong involvement within multiple music disciplines has allowed him to bring his understanding of music and his leadership experience to a variety of musical venues in the region. Currently, he is the music director of the Blacksburg Community Band, instrumental music teacher at Floyd County High School, and president of the Blue Ridge Music Festival Board of Directors.

Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Durner began his professional career teaching high school music in New Jersey. This was followed by several years of teaching at the college level, but ultimately Durner returned to the high school arena where he directed award winning concert and jazz bands, as well as a championship high school marching band.

Paralleling Durner’s public school career was his 30 year tenure as music director and conductor of The Pioneer Band of Allentown. During that time, he oversaw the production of several recordings, numerous exchange concerts with other community bands, and multiple performance tours of Germany. Each year the band performed approximately 35 concerts in venues ranging from local parks and concert halls to the Ellipse at the White House in Washington D.C.

Durner has also been active in the area of Music Theater. He has produced and/or directed over thirty full scale musical productions at the high school level and served as music director for Community Theater and the Municipal Opera Company in Allentown, PA. He has been a guest conductor for a variety of honor bands, a trombone clinician, and an adjudicator for concert, jazz, and marching bands.

Since moving to Virginia, Durner has continued to be active as a guest conductor, working with the Winds of the Blue Ridge Concert Band, and the Highty-Tighties Marching Band at Virginia Tech. He has also been the Music Director for Blacksburg’s Summer Musical Enterprise productions of The Pajama Game, Peter Pan, and Cinderella.

Throughout his career, Durner has had wonderful opportunities to study with some of the best conductors the band world has to offer, including Dr. Frederick Fennell, John Paynter, Anthony Maiello and Colonel Arnald Gabriel. He holds degrees in music education, conducting, and education administration from Moravian College, The College of New Jersey, and East Stroudsburg University. He is also a member of the National Band Association, the National Association for Music Education and the Association of Concert Bands.

Currently residing in Floyd County, Virginia, Durner and his wife, Chris, have six children and are grandparents to nine grandchildren. In his spare time, Durner enjoys tinkering in his wood shop, traveling around the U.S. to visit family, watching the Philadelphia Eagles, and refining his piano skills.