Musical Biography of
Maestro Dr. Donald L. Appert
Donald Lawrence Appert has appeared as a guest conductor in Japan, Australia, Central America, and throughout Europe. In Italy La’ovadese wrote, “…the performance of the ‘Serenade in C Major’ of Tchaikovsky, under the exceptional direction of Appert, was in such a style that it brought out the elegance and grace of the melodic lines with Mozartian inspiration. …The L’Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Grosseto… performed the Barber ‘Adagio’ with rare effectiveness, emphasizing its intrinsically rich melody.” Giornale di Sicilla praised his interpretation of Nielsen’s First Symphony as “lyrical with an airy freshness,” and his conducting as “precise, painstakingly accurate, and diligent.”
In the United States, he has appeared as a guest conductor of the Vancouver (Washington) Symphony, the University of Texas – Arlington Symphony Orchestra, the Eastern Washington University Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Central Arkansas Symphony. In April, 2015 Dr. Appert guest conducted L’Orchestra Sinfonia Città di Grosseto in a concert featuring his Concerto in Mi for Piano and String Orchestra, which in May, 2012 he premiered in Italy as a guest conductor of Atelier d’archi della Valle d’Aosta, with Maurizio Barboro as soloist. In July, 2015 he guest conducted the Academy of Soloists Kazakhstan in Massa, Italy, which included his Nara Variations for String Orchestra. His Northwest Triptych, composed for the Oregon Sinfonietta, was featured in a December, 2015 concert by the Oradea (Romania) Philharmonic, at which he was the guest conductor
Dr. Appert has been selected for the 2020 American Prize in Orchestral Programming – Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for his work with the Oregon Sinfonietta. He previously won this prize in 2011 as well.
Dr. Appert was also selected as one of only five musicians chosen as a 2015 Honored Artists of the American Prize, the Honored Artists being “… individuals who have proven themselves to be musicians of “sustained excellence” over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.” Other outcomes of the 2015 competition have Dr. Appert winning 2nd place in Orchestral Programming for his work with the Clark College Orchestra and the Jewish Community Orchestra, in addition to placing as a semi-finalist in Composition – Orchestral, Professional Division for his Fantasy for Contrabass and Orchestra. Also, two of his orchestras, the Oregon Sinfonietta and the Clark College Orchestra, placed as finalists in Orchestral Performance – Community Orchestra Division. His previous American Prize honors in Orchestral Programming for his work with the Oregon Sinfonietta include placing 3rd in 2014, being named a finalist in 2013, and receiving an honorable mention in 2012. Also in 2012, he was named as a semi-finalist in Composition – Orchestral, Professional Division for his Northwest Triptych. The Oregon Sinfonietta and the Clark College Orchestra have also received previous honors from the American Prize in Orchestral Performance – Community Orchestra Division. The Oregon Sinfonietta was a semi-finalist for their January 20, 2013 concert, and the Clark College Orchestra was a finalist for their June 16, 2013 concert and received 3rd place for their March 14, 2012 concert.
Dr. Appert has been awarded the 2015 ASCAPLUS Award in recognition of his performances in Italy and the United States. His 2014 ASCAPLUS Award was for performances in Romania, Japan, and the United States. He also received this award in the years 2013 – 2008 and 2006 – 2005 for performances of his music in Romania, Qatar, Europe, Central America, Japan, and the United States. Dr. Appert is the recipient of the 2014 Clark County Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, and in 2009 he received the Washington Community College Humanities Association Exemplary Status Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Humanities.
Dr. Appert is a member of ASCAP, with most of his works published. The Oregon Sinfonietta performed the world premiere of Dr. Appert’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with world renowned violist Brett Deubner as soloist at their March 13, 2016 concert. Mr. Deubner also performed with the Clark College Orchestra on March 9, 2016 Dr. Appert’s Fantasy for Viola and String Orchestra (originally for contrabass) that the Oregon Sinfonietta premiered in their November 9, 2014 concert with William Athens as soloist on contrabass, along with Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher. He made a recording of Dr. Appert’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the Oregon Sinfonietta. With the Clark College Orchestra, he recorded Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher and Dr. Appert’s Fantasy for Viola and String Orchestra. All three recordings are included on a CD of Mr. Deubner’s performances.
Dr. Appert’s Northwest Triptych was premiered by the Oregon Sinfonietta on November 7, 2010, and was performed by state orchestras in Romania, El Salvador, and Slovakia in 2011. ABEditore (Milan, Italy) published his Concertino for Bass Clarinet and String Orchestra and Vignette for String Quartet (or String Orchestra). In June, 2013 Rocco Parisi’s Bass Clarinet Quartet premiered Quartetto Basso, which they had commissioned from Dr. Appert. The work was included on their CD entitled A tempo, a Modo: Path tracking Vito Marsico, and may be obtained through www.amiranirecords.com. Dr. Appert’s Nara Variations received its world premiere in December, 2007 by the Ashiya Chamber Orchestra in Kobe, Japan. Additional performances in 2008 – 2009 of this work for string orchestra were by the El Salvador State Symphony, The L’Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Grosseto (Italy), Filharmonica “Milhail Jora” Bacau (Romania), and the Orquestra Sinfonica de Sant Cugat (Spain) with the composer conducting.
In October, 1998 the Ashiya Chamber Orchestra performed the Japanese premiere of In the Similitude of a Dream. This piece for string orchestra was recorded by the Clark College Orchestra on its first compact disc, and received its Australian premiere in August, 1999. The Ashiya Chamber Orchestra also gave the Japanese premiere of Thru a Glass Darkly in October, 1999, and in their November, 2001 concert they gave the world premiere of Elegy, a work they commissioned from the composer. Dr. Appert has since conducted this work with orchestras in the United States, the Czech and Slovak Republics, France, Romania, and Portugal. The Audienda-Chor premiered Who Shall Know? for a capella choir in Krefeld, Germany in November, 2002.
Dr. Appert’s music may be heard via the Internet on his publisher’s website at http://harmonicservicesgroup.com/c/donaldappert/orchworks.html or his website at www.maestroappert.com.
Dr. Appert received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Trombone from the New England Conservatory of Music, and he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Kansas. Dr. Appert has studied conducting with Riccardo Muti, Otto Werner Mueller, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Fredrik Fennel, George Lawner, and Richard Pittman. He was one of fourteen conductors chosen to participate in Helmuth Rilling’s Master Class at the 1992 Oregon Bach Festival. His trombone teachers include Ronald Barron, John Coffey, and Tyrone Breuninger. He has performed as a trombonist with the Kansas City Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Opera Orchestra, and the Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony.
Dr. Appert has taught for over 25 years at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he is a Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department, and is the Music Director/Conductor of the Clark College Orchestra. Additionally, he is the Music Director and Conductor of the Oregon Sinfonietta and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Jewish Community Orchestra, both in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Appert lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife Linda, a coloratura soprano and active voice teacher. They have two daughters – Laura, a violist, and Rebecca, a violinist. Both are graduates of the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music.