Where are they now?

Winning one of DPVA’s concerto competitions or scholarships can be an amazing accomplishment for a young musician.  It can help deepen that student’s interest in music and the arts as well as leading to opportunities for further developing musical skills and knowledge.  It is especially satisfying to know that this early success often leads to a lifetime of involvement in musical performance or even a professional career in the arts.

Two of our past recipients, Walt Nielsen and Brandon Patrick George, are shining examples of how being a young “winner” can be the inspiration for finding opportunities for a lifetime of making music.

65 Years and Counting!

Walter Nielsen was a clarinetist in the Dayton Junior Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Marjorie Kline during the 1956-57 season.  He participated in a concerto contest sponsored by the Dayton Philharmonic Women’s Association and won a $100 scholarship in 1958 or 59 (he’s not sure!).  He used the scholarship money to study with Robert Enoch, the Philharmonic’s second chair clarinetist at the time.

Since his early involvement with the Dayton Junior Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonic Women’s Association, Walt has had the pleasure of playing in many university and community orchestras, bands, and ensembles.  He is currently the principal clarinetist in the Scottsdale Philharmonic Orchestra, a seat he’s been fortunate to hold since its inception in 2012.

In a recent email message sent to Ruth Reveal requesting information about or copies of programs from the Junior Orchestra’s 1956-1957 season, Walt wrote of his time spent with the orchestra: “I’m grateful to have had this opportunity, and I benefited immensely from it.  Thanks, again, to the Dayton Philharmonic Women’s Association!”

Brandon Patrick George, Rising Star

As a student of Virginia Miller, former flautist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Brandon Patrick George was awarded one of the DPVA scholarships.  What a great beginning to what has become an inspiring professional career!!

Brandon’s rise as a professional flautist has led him to many of the world’s leading ensembles.  Among them are the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Other performances have included appearances at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Last summer while playing as a guest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, he was asked to audition for the woodwind quintet “Imani Winds”. Founded in 1997 by flutist and composer Valerie Coleman in New York, the quintet has become the most celebrated quintet in America, receiving many awards including a Grammy nomination. The group tours full-time and is known for performing exciting and diverse repertoire, most of which has been written specifically for the ensemble.   Members of the quintet also teach at music schools across the globe. Brandon joined the quintet in September 2018, succeeding Valerie who is now a professor as well as a composer. She was recently commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and made history by being the first and only African-American woman to have a work commissioned and performed by the orchestra in their long history.

“It is a tremendous honor to play with the quintet which she founded, traveling the world and getting to meet students and audiences everywhere!” Brandon said of his work with the quintet.

We wish Brandon continued success!  He’s made the DPVA very proud!

You can learn more about Brandon’s career at  and the work of the quintet at