I love working with people to enable change in their lives. As a performer I strive to connect musical works both classical and contemporary to new audiences. As a teacher I help students find their authentic sound and creative business mindset.

Our world is ever changing and divided, but with resistance comes an opportunity to facilitate community, compassion, and empathy. There’s a beautiful opportunity to change and I believe music performance and teaching provide opportunities to develop the self awareness and human connectivity we so desperately need.


I discovered music’s power to change while performing on stage in a side-by-side concert with the local symphony at 16. I was captured by the connection I felt with the musicians on stage, the audience, the composer, and a purpose of grander proportion than all of it combined. That night, I decided to become a professional musician and my life’s mission was crafted.


I’m a performer who strives to connect with those around me and beyond. From collaborating with other musicians to connecting with the audience, my purpose is to unite with others in a shared experience. 

I’m a teacher dedicated to authentic sound, technical mastery and creative business mindset. I believe in mentoring the whole musician and incorporate elements of mindfulness, emotional intelligence, leadership, and organization along with conservatory-minded musical training. In 2021, I launched the Aspire Viola Academy to fulfill my mission of catalyzing change in others with a holistic approach and entrepreneurial mindset.


I perform in symphonies, chamber groups, solo settings and work with artists in lessons, entrepreneurship and pedagogy courses, music festivals, career coaching, workshops, and clinics. If my purpose resonates with yours, I would love to help you find your way. Connect with me to learn more about my work.

Professional Bio

Dawson White is a violist whose musical career is centered around positive change, with special focus on connecting with audiences and developing authentic sound and creative business mindset in his students. These values have led to performances from Walt Disney Hall to Carnegie Hall and resident viola positions in the Houston Grand Opera/Ballet orchestras. 

Dawson’s dedication to viola performance is most obvious in his extensive experience as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician. He was a National Finalist at the MTNA Solo Competition in Toronto, served as Assistant Principal in the inaugural YouTube Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in Carnegie Hall, Principal Violist with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Walt Disney Hall, and performed with the Houston Ballet Orchestra as Principal Viola on numerous occasions. In 2021, Dawson performed as soloist and guest Principal Violist with the Mainzer Virtuosi in Germany as part of the Musiktage am Rhein Music Festival. 

A dedicated teaching artist, Mr. White founded the Aspire Viola Academy in 2021 as a powerful educational tool for violists of any age, crafted for the digital age. Dawson was on faculty at Sam Houston State University and has a studio of advanced high school, college, and professional students with numerous alumni holding prestigious positions. Dawson currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas where he has helped develop the string program through performance, pedagogy, and entrepreneurship courses. 

Entrepreneurial in spirit, Dawson has been involved in the genesis of many artistic pursuits including the formation of the Aspire Viola Academy, Axiom Quartet, New Art/New Music concert series, and the Houston Viola Society. He often served as founder, board member, curriculum developer, and obtained 501(c)3 non-profit and trademarking status in several instances. White has been invited to speak about the art of entrepreneurship at Rice, Baylor and Northwestern Universities, he contributed to the Journal of the American Viola Society and later received a nomination to serve on its’ Board of Directors. 

Dawson White is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Viola Performance and Music Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas where he studies classical viola with Dr. Susan Dubois and jazz viola with Scott Tixier. He earned a masters degree in viola performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he studied with Ivo-Jan van der Werff. During undergraduate studies at Baylor University with Dr. Kathryn Steely, White received the Dean’s Award and Donald I. Moore Award for Best Musical Performance. Other significant pedagogical influences include Helen Callus, Joan DerHovsepian, Wayne Brooks, and Ruth Morrow. 

Dawson performs on a modern viola by David Polstein & Christopher White, a 2012 Violin Society of America Award winner. He spends his summers teaching and performing at the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival in California, Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy, and Musiktage am Rhein in Germany.