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 and career coach 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 Aspire Music 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 below.
Dawson White is an artist-entrepreneur who fuses genre-bending performance and teaching with the curation of progressive music ventures.
A classically-trained violist, Dawson has been a member of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestra viola sections for a decade. Highlights include performing the complete Wagner Ring cycle and leading performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as principal violist. He debuted at Carnegie Hall with Michael Tilson Thomas and the YouTube Symphony, and at Walt Disney Hall with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra as principal violist. Dawson also regularly performs with the Houston Symphony, Mainzer Virtuosi in Germany, and the Cabrillo Contemporary Festival each summer.
In chamber music settings, his focus is contemporary music, underrepresented composers of the Americas, and the string chamber music cannon. Dawson has performed with Musiqa, Aperio Ensemble, and recorded Bolivian composer Gustavo Navarre’s String Quartet on the Cantys Label with the Kolonneh Quartet. He’s a former member of the Axiom Quartet and performed as guest violist with the Fidelis Quartet.
Dawson’s cross-genre experience extends outside the classical realm, where he has collaborated with artists on Swedish emo-electronic, Scandinavian pop, and Americana folk albums. He’s been invited to perform with the Eagles, The Who, Andrea Bocelli, James Lowe (Les Misérables), and performed with the Houston Latin-American Philharmonic. You can hear him on the Grind and Nexius labels.
Dawson is an artist-teacher devoted to crafting an authentic viola sound, one that embodies the character and identity of the performer and the essence of the composition. His students can be found in orchestras, teaching at public schools and attending major conservatories, including the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Royal Conservatory of the Hague, and McGill University. He built viola studios at Sam Houston State University and Lone Star College, and currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
Entrepreneurial ventures have focused on progressive performance/education/community experiences. Dawson was directly involved in the genesis of the Axiom Quartet, Houston Viola Society, Cypress Symphony and grew the New Art/New Music concert series at Rice University. Most recently, he launched Aspire Music, a powerful online educational tool for musicians in the digital age with lessons, career coaching, and online courses designed to achieve educational and career aspirations.
Dawson holds degrees from Rice and Baylor Universities and will complete coursework for a Doctor in Viola Performance and Music Entrepreneurship from the University of North Texas this year. His doctoral research will focus on the entrepreneurial profile of prominent violists. His primary teachers include Susan Dubois, Ivo van der Werff, Kathryn Steely, Helen Callus, and Joan DerHovsepian. When not performing or teaching, you can find Dawson at his cabin in Tyler, Texas where his family settled a century ago.