Dakota is an active educator and performer currently residing in Columbia, SC where he is in pursuit of his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of South Carolina. He frequently travels up and down the east coast as a freelance musician. Dakota’s current titles include Third Horn of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Director of Operations and Program Development at FredBrass, as well as President and Artistic Director of the Tidewater Brass Institute.
He has played with North Carolina Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Augusta Symphony, New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, South Florida Philharmonic, New River Valley Symphony, and the United States Navy Band Southwest. Dakota is also an avid chamber musician, founding Vice City Brass, a collective of brass and electronic musicians aiming to bridge the generational gap between the past, present, and future, as well as Cor4, a horn quartet based out of Columbia, South Carolina. This summer, he will be joining the artists in the Maryland Chamber Winds during their residency at the Maryland Wind Festival, under the direction of Dr. Tyler Austin.
Dakota earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Music Performance from Virginia Tech, where he was a featured soloist with both the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble and the nearby New River Valley Symphony. He then continued to the University of Miami where he earned his Masters of Music in Instrumental Performance. His teachers have included JD Shaw, Richard Todd, Wallace Easter, Rebecca Peppard, and Sgt. Eric High. Read below to find out more about Dakota!
When was your first encounter with music?
My father has been in the United States Navy Band program my entire life, so I can’t really be sure as to when exactly my first encounter with it was! His presence and my being surrounded by phenomenal musicians since birth is certainly a big part of why music is my career.
When/How did you start playing your instrument?
I started playing trumpet in fourth grade, but made the jump to horn in seventh. My father was a horn player in the Navy, and is now the Commanding Officer at the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, VA. He was my first private teacher.
When did you decide you wanted to make music your career?
I think I decided I wanted to study it the summer before my junior year of high school. I had been accepted into the Governor’s School of the Arts, which was my first real exposure to orchestral playing, and I fell in love. I always wanted to be a band director until my first music education course. I still think I’d love it, but I have much more fun creating music with my horn and teaching privately!
What is your favorite memory of a performance?
My favorite performance…. hmm. I’ve been lucky enough to do a variety of different things in terms of performance avenues, but my favorite performances are always the culmination performances at the brass festivals I run. Seeing the final product of a week of hard work and coachings from a bunch of students who have never experienced chamber music before is always extremely rewarding as an educator. If we’re talking strictly performances that I have done, I’d have to say playing Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4 in Carnegie Hall is certainly up there.
What do you like to do outside of music?
I am a HUGE Washington, D.C. sports fan, so any time I can catch a game when I’m in town, I’m there. I also follow Liverpool Football Club, and my Virginia Tech Hokies Football and Basketball team. If I’m not working on a project, I’m usually catching up on some highlights or watching a game.