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“David Rudge has built the group in to a robust and excellent ensemble.”                  -- Buffalo News

Music Director of the Erehwon Ensemble, David Rudge has conducted orchestras on five continents to critical acclaim. While Director of Orchestras and Opera at the State University of New York at Fredonia he led the significant expansion of those programs over his 25 years. As the first Music Director of the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra, Rudge performed to full houses, led the orchestra into a larger hall and the organization to exponential growth. As Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Guatemala he was credited with the dramatic rebirth of that orchestra. Described as “dynamic” and “electric,” Guatemala’s Prensa Libre wrote, “it has been many years since we have heard a symphony orchestra play with such inspiration.” Dr. Rudge founded the Eastminster Chamber Orchestra and was Assistant Conductor of the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Columbia Lyric Opera and Ballet, and the South Carolina Philharmonic. During that time he was noted for his “Bernstein-like intensity” The State, Columbia, SC. 


He was chosen several times to prepare the Beethoven Chamber Orchestra for the International Workshop for Conductors in ZlÌn, Czech Republic. He has guest conducted the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Mariánské Lázne, CR, and, as a two-time winner of the International Opera Conductors’ Competition, he was invited to conduct a complete production of Rigoletto at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic, and to lead the Vratza Philharmonic in Bulgaria. In 2012 he won the American Prize for Conducting and in 2020 the production of Massenet’s Cendrillon he conducted won first place in the National Opera Association Competition. As an Artistic Ambassador for the State Department, he spent two months in Damascus, Syria conducting the National Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.

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He has conducted the Opera and Orchestra at the Rome Festival, Italy, and has guest conducted the Dialecto Urbano Chorus, Caracas, Venezuela, the Giurgiu Philharmonic (Romania), the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the North Carolina Governor’s School Orchestra, the Poughkeepsie Chamber Orchestra, and the Southern Tier Symphony. Dr. Rudge has worked with some of today’s finest soloists, including Jeremy Denk, David Kim, Larry Combs, Carol Wincenc, Jeffrey Khaner, Gail Williams, Elizabeth Hainen, Jean-Luc Ponty, Charles Castleman, Mark O’Connor, Zuill Bailey, and Yo-Yo Ma. His repertoire covers a wide range, including over 25 operas, and a number of world premieres.

Holding degrees from the Hartt School of Music, the University of Houston, and the University of South Carolina, Dr. Rudge has also studied conducting at the Dartington School, England, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Pierre Monteux School, the Aspen Music Festival, the National Conservatory of Romania, and the Conductors Institute with Donald Portnoy and Harold Farberman. He also worked with such notables as Charles Bruck, Max Rudolf, Gunther Schuller, and Maurice Abravanel. Violin study was with Yumi Ninomiya, Jascha Brodsky, Renato Bonacini, and Fredell Lack. Chamber music coaching has been with members of the Curtis, Cleveland, Kolisch, Amadeus, Portland, Razumovsky and Emerson String Quartets. He has also pursued baroque performance practice, as both a violinist and conductor, with the directors and members of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. 


Dr. Rudge has taught at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Carolina, Colby College, the Hartt School of Music and the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies, New York. He has given classes in conducting at the Conservatorio Nacional, Guatemala; the Higher Institute of Music, Damascus, Syria; the National Taiwan Normal University, the ASTA National Conference, and as a faculty member of the Conductor’s Institute at Bard College. He has been coach and guest conductor of the Boston, Columbia, Houston and Costa Rican Youth Orchestras, as well as many student honor-orchestras, such as the New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois All-State Orchestras.


Rudge has played as both a violinist and violist with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Tulsa Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela, Charleston Symphony, Portland Symphony, and the Houston Grand Opera. He was the first violinist of the Andrea String Quartet and was invited to perform with the Portland String Quartet in their 25th Anniversary concert.

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At SUNY Fredonia he also teaches Free Improvisation and is the Founder of The Improv. Collective, a unique performing ensemble dedicated to free improvisation for self-expression. He is the Director of the Musicianship Program at Music for People, an organization that advocates and promotes freely improvised music. Dr. Rudge was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship at the National Conservatoire of Music in Egypt. As a Senior Fellow he guest conducted the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra as well as the Cairo Opera Orchestra, and Opera Chorus. He recently returned to conduct the Cairo Symphony, where the press called him “a proper maestro. . . grandly expressive.”

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