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Steven Errante

May 1, 2018

For the past 32 years, Steven Errante has taken on dual roles of professor in the UNCW Department of Music and conductor of the Wilmington Symphony. What excites him about both jobs is the connection between what goes on in the classroom and what happens in the concert hall.

“Teaching at the college level has allowed me to continue performing as a conductor and pianist and, at the same time, pass what I’ve learned about music on to younger generations of musicians,” he said. “It also gives me a chance to be around colleagues and students who are not exclusively musicians. I can emerge from my studio in the Cultural Arts building and see art students at work and theater students rehearsing.”

Errante grew up in a home filled with music. His father played Beethoven's symphonies on the stereo phonograph and his mother was an amateur musician who performed music by ear.

“By the time I was a teenager, I realized that my love for music could not be satisfied in any way that didn’t involve creating it and performing it,” said Errante. “I went on to pursue college degrees in conducting and composition.”

Errante, who earned his doctor of musical arts at The Juilliard School, taught at Northern Michigan University and the University of Richmond before joining UNCW in 1986. He was recently inducted into the Order of Isaac Bear, which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the academic quality of the university or their significant roles in uniting the institution and the community.

The Wilmington Symphony’s 2017-18 Masterworks season finale performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni on April 21 was a sentimental one for Errante. His father took him to see the Metropolitan Opera perform Don Giovanni in 1964.

“I had this incredible experience as a 10-year-old,” he said. “I was completely swept away by how music could make me feel. I’ve conducted other operas over the years, but I finally have the opportunity to conduct it with UNCW opera students and the Wilmington Symphony. It’s been 54 years in the making.”

Errante’s connection to UNCW goes beyond music. His wife, Sandy, worked in the Student Affairs Office in the late 1980s, and his daughter Casey Errante ’15M will join the UNCW sociology faculty as an adjunct professor this fall.

As the founding conductor of the Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra, Errante feels he has a responsibility to nurture classical music and pass it along to the next generation. “Classical music needs care because I think popular music will always survive,” he explained. “My ambition for UNCW and the Wilmington community has always been to make sure the performance and appreciation of symphonic music is alive and well.”

-Venita Jenkins