Tara Villa Keith


D.M.A. University of South Carolina 
M.M. Pennsylvania State University 
B.A. Franklin and Marshall College


I am in my 11th season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra and in my fifth season with the Lee County Community Orchestra in Sanford, North Carolina.

Here in the U.S. I conduct frequently, most recently three world premieres of chamber works at the 2012 Atlantic Music Festival in Maine.  I was also the second place winner of The 2012 American Prize Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming.  In partnership with Artist Associate Jacqueline Culpepper, I won the Metrolina Theatre Association's Award for Outstanding Musical Direction/Conducting for Davidson College's 2011 production of Sondheim's Into the Woods.  In 2009 and 2010, I served as an assistant conductor for the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas.  After winning the International Conducting Competition in 2008, I guest conducted the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Georgia.  Other guest conducting engagements include performances with the Union Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina, Capitol Opera Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Opera at USC, South Carolina.  I have also enjoyed rehearsing the Durham Symphony Reading Orchestra, the Palmetto Youth Orchestra, and the Lake Norman Orchestra.  In addition, I had the pleasure of serving as cover conductor for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in April 2013.

Abroad, I conducted two world premieres at the 40th Campos do Jordão Winter Music Festival, Brazil, where I won second place in the Camargo Guarnieri Conducting Competition.  As a winner of the 2009 Interaktion Selection Contest with the Brandenburger Symphoniker, I worked with Das Kritische Orchester, an orchestra composed of members of some of the most prestigious Berlin orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker.  In Bulgaria, I won the first Varna International Conducting Competition in 2007 and returned the following year to guest conduct the Vidin State Philharmonic.  I've also worked with the New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria and the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in the Czech Republic as a grant recipient from both the Global Partners Project (Associated Colleges of the South) and the League of American Orchestras Women Conductors Grant.

My previous mentors include Donald Portnoy, Gerardo Edelstein, and Brian Norcross.  Conductors with whom I have studied in workshop and festival settings include Marin Alsop, Guillaume Bourgogne, JoAnn Falletta, John Farrer, Adrian Gnam, Samuel Jones, Daniel Lewis, Gustav Meier, Jorge Mester, Larry Rachleff, Richard Rosenberg, Jonathan Schiffman, Donald Schleicher, Benjamin Shwartz, Carl St. Clair, Kate Tamarkin, Donald Thulean, and Victor Yampolsky among others.

Off of the podium I enjoy dancing, painting, golfing, kayaking, antiquing, playing tennis, freelancing as a percussionist, and playing with my cats or any other animals I happen to come upon.


MUS 003 Keyboard Proficiency 
MUS 012 Davidson College Symphony Orchestra
MUS 110 Exploring Music
MUS 121 Introduction to Music in Western Civilization
MUS 212 Introduction to Conducting
MUS 221 Studies of Styles & Composers: Percussion & the World
MUS 222 Studies of Styles & Composers: Opera - Mozart to Debussy
MUS 221 Studies of Styles & Composers: Impressionism
MUS 223 Studies of Styles & Composers: History of the Orchestra
MUS 401 Senior Seminar: 19th and 20th Century Scandanavian Music