Founding Music Director of the Southern Tier Symphony, John Whitney is a native of Glens Falls, NY and received degrees from Ithaca College and New England Conservatory. He served as professor of music at the University of Central Florida (UCF) from 1982-2001. More recently, he was director of orchestras at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and conducted the orchestras at SUNY Fredonia.
As the only American winner of the International Competition for Conductors held in Czechoslovakia in 1991, Whitney has conducted twenty concerts in South America and Europe. In the United States, he has fulfilled more than a dozen invitations with the Dayton and Erie Philharmonics and the Illinois, South Bend, Savannah, Springfield (MO and MA), Westmoreland, SW Florida (Fort Myers) and New World Symphonies. He has also conducted three productions with Orlando Opera and served as music director for Ballet Orlando. During 2003, he conducted concerts for the Irish Tenors on their Northeastern Holiday Tour.
An award-winning jazz pianist, Whitney has more than forty of his compositions and arrangements published by Alfred Publishing and Theodore Presser. Active as a string clinician with ASTA, Whitney’s orchestral arrangements have been performed at the Carnegie Hall “Link-UP!” youth concerts.
A host of platinum artists have shared the stage with Whitney, including Luciano Pavarotti, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Dave Samuels, Henry Mancini, Cab Calloway, Liberace and The Irish Tenors. As a violinist, he has performed at Walt Disney World and with symphonies of Syracuse, Utica, Elmira and Brevard (FL).