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Kesling, Will

Dr. Will Kesling has conducted hundreds of choral ensembles and approaching fifty professional symphony orchestras throughout the world. His talents for weaving together text and music, chorus and orchestra have garnered him international respect. Dr. Kesling has conducted a number of engagements in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as in major concert halls around the world. He has served as the Associate Conductor of the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra, New York City and as the Principal Guest Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra during and after the Soviet era. Dr. Kesling was the Music Director and Conductor of the Mountain West Symphony Orchestra & Choral Society, Utah, for eighteen years. In 2021, he began his 44th year as a Professor of Choral and Orchestral Conducting, his 20th at the University of Florida.

The Beijing Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China has certified Dr. Kesling as a High Level Talent and has selected him to join the Program for the Introduction of Renowned Overseas Professors by awarding him a ten-year High Talents R Visa. He holds the title of Distinguished Expert at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, called the “Harvard of China”; Distinguished Professor at the School of Music, Sichuan International Studies University; and Honorary Distinguished Professor at the College of Music, Gannan Normal University.

On October 1, 2019, America’s largest independent record producer Centaur Records released a recording of the rarely performed REQUIEM MASS, Op. 89 by Antonin Dvoř k, conducted by Dr. Kesling. The performing forces are the Coru Academic, G. Musicesscu” al Philharmonicii, Moldava” and Orchestra Filarmonicii, Mihail Jora” Bacau of Romania, with four soloists from the Rousse State Opera of Sofia, Bulgaria. The recording is available for listening on Spotify. Kesling conducts a lyrical, dramatic performance . . . . American Record Guide July/August 2020.

The University of Florida’s special television production of the 2020 Sounds of the Season: Conquering COVID with a Carol was awarded a Gold Medal from Audio Visual Arts Digital Awards International Competition. Dr. Kesling produced and conducted the production. The award recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design, and production of digital communication. The performance is available on YouTube.

In February 2021, Dr. Kesling worked with Latin Grammy award winner Dr. Jos  Valentino, the University of Florida Concert Choir, and Multicultural Music Ensemble to create the album Ramirez Reimagined on the JV Music Enterprises label. The recording sessions took place during the COVID-19 pandemic under the strictest of safety practices. The recording is available on Spotify. Kesling has several other commercial recordings available on both the Integra Classics and Shadow Mountain labels. He has conducted feature film scores at the LA East studios. A career highlight was guest conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a televised broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word.

Dr. Kesling has conducted numerous All State choirs and festivals. He has three years of experience conducting military choirs and bands. Professor Kesling has published scholarly choral editions and compositions with a number of publishers and has penned a number of academic articles for professional journals. His university choirs have received international attention and have made multiple appearances at both national and divisional conventions for the American Choral Directors Association, including a unique performance before the combined Western and Northwestern Division Convention of the College Band Directors Association premiering new works for choir and band. Dr. Kesling’s combined choirs were featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympics on NBC in 2002.

His passion is guiding his Masters and Doctoral students down the academic path toward the ultimate goals of choral artistry and career advancement. This passion is the genesis of the present text. He holds a multiple accolades from the universities where he has taught both at the college and institutional levels: Professor of the Year, Scholar/Teacher of the Year, International Educator of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Term Research Professor to name a few.

In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Kesling received The Congressional Order of Merit, The Congressional Medal of Distinction, and Ronald Reagan Gold Medal for his contributions to the cultural life of the citizenry. He was inducted into Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as a National Honorary Member. Dr. Kesling received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his undergraduate university. He was named 2020 Musician of the Year by the Foundation for the Promotion of Music. The Marqu s Who’s Who Publication Board presented Dr. Kesling with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award 2020.