The Music Director / Conductor
I frequently hear from guest artists, “Wow! I had no idea Waco would have such a fine orchestra!”
That is a reflection of our exceptional musicians for sure, but also of the quality of our board and its leadership, the excellence and efficiency of our Executive Director and staff, the generosity of donors, loyalty of patrons and the tremendous community support with which we are blessed!
The truth of the matter is that takes a team to put a fine orchestra on stage to bring music to life. We are so fortunate to have access to some of mankind’s most inspired creations, but without the kind of collaboration we enjoy, those creations would just remain lifeless black specks on paper.
I sincerely invite you to be a part of this special team that ensures our community will continue to marvel at the abilities of our world-class guest artists and to be nurtured and refreshed by the magic of inspiring music. Come and enjoy your orchestra!
In addition to his responsibilities as Music Director/Conductor of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Heyde is the Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor-in-Residence at Baylor University. Before assuming his duties at Baylor in 1984, Mr. Heyde was on the violin faculty at West Virginia University from 1975–1984.
Maestro Heyde served as President of the College Orchestra Directors Association from 2006–08 and also serves on the Board of Directors of ProMus International.
Mr. Heyde has conducted All State Orchestras and other festival orchestras in numerous states. He has conducted ballet performances with several regional companies and many collegiate opera productions. He is a frequent evaluator of collegiate orchestral programs and conductors and has guest conducted at a number of universities, including Yale University, Ithaca College and the University of Oregon.
Stephen Heyde made his European debut with the Krakow State Philharmonic in March 1998. In October 2004, he was invited to conduct the orchestra of the prestigious Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. During his month-long stay in Budapest, he was awarded the prestigious “Memorial Ring of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy” and he accepted a position on the Curatorium (Board of Supervisors) for the Academy. While in Europe, Mr. Heyde also addressed the International Society for Music Education in Belgium and participated in a Roundtable presentation of the International Kodály Society. In April 2007, Mr. Heyde was privileged to return to Belgium as a member of the ensemble jury for the 55th European Music Festival for Young People held in Neerpelt, serving again in April 2011 for the 57th edition of the Festival. In March 2009, he participated in the American Arts Festival in Flanders, conducting three Belgium orchestras. In July 2015, he conducted the Córdoba Symphony Orchestra in Argentina.
Under Mr. Heyde’s direction, the Baylor Symphony has performed eight times at the Texas Music Educators Clinic/Convention. In December 2003, the Baylor Symphony was featured with other School of Music ensembles in “Christmas at Baylor,” a PBS Special that was aired nationally in more than 350 markets and had an estimated audience in excess of six million viewers. The Baylor Symphony has also appeared by invitation at the prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and at national conventions of the American String Teachers Association and the College Orchestra Directors Association. The Baylor Symphony was privileged to accompany the last public performance of revered violinist Joseph Gingold and has also worked with a number of other distinguished American performers and composers such as Robert Shaw, William Kraft, Jacob Druckman, and Lorin Hollander. Mr. Heyde led the Symphony in concerts in San José, Heredia, and Cartago, Costa Rica, in March 2004. In November 2010, he led the Baylor Chamber Orchestra on a concert tour of Flanders, with performances in Antwerp, Ostend, Louvain, and Tongeren. The Baylor Symphony received national recognition by being awarded back-to-back American Prizes in 2014 and 2015 as the outstanding collegiate orchestra.
A recipient of Outstanding Teacher Awards at West Virginia University and Baylor University, Mr. Heyde is a member of the International Kodály Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, Mu Omicron, College Orchestra Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Orchestra Directors Association, in addition to other professional associations. He is a member of the North West Rotary Club.
As a violinist, Mr. Heyde served as concertmaster of the West Virginia Symphonette, concertmaster of the Conductors Guild Orchestra, and associate concertmaster of the New Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra, among other positions. As a member of the Amart String Quartet and as a recitalist, he appeared frequently on public radio and television. Mr. Heyde is the co-author of the West Virginia Curriculum Guide for Orchestras and Strings, and founder and host of the Ten-a-Day String Series, an educational videotape/DVD series presently in use in more than 40 states. He has been a frequent clinician on string and conducting topics.