Office Location: Sloan Music Center 110
Office Hours: by appointment
B.A., Theatre and Music, Franklin and Marshall College
M.M., Orchestral Conducting, The Pennsylvania State University
D.M.A., Conducting, University of South Carolina
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
Tara Towson Villa, associate professor in music, is in her tenth season as music director of the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, Villa and Artist Associate Jacqueline Culpepper won the Metrolina Theatre Association’s Award for Outstanding Musical Direction/Conducting for Davidson College’s production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Villa is also in her fourth season directing the Lee County Community Orchestra in Sanford, North Carolina.
Most recently, Villa conducted three world premieres of chamber works at the 2012 Atlantic Music Festival in Maine. In 2009 and 2010, she served as an assistant conductor for the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas. After winning the International Conducting Competition in 2008, Villa guest conducted the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Georgia. Other guest conducting engagements in the United States include performances with the Union Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina, Capitol Opera Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Opera at USC, South Carolina. Also in the Carolinas, she has enjoyed working with the Durham Symphony Reading Orchestra, the Palmetto Youth Orchestra, and the Lake Norman Orchestra.
Abroad, Villa served as a conducting apprentice in the 40th Campos do Jordão Winter Music Festival, Brazil, where she won second place in the Camargo Guarnieri Conducting Competition. As a winner of the 2009 Interaction Selection contest with the Brandenburg Symphony, she worked with the Critical Orchestra of Berlin, an orchestra composed of members of the Berlin Philharmonic, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Concert House Orchestra Berlin, and the Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra. In Bulgaria, Villa won the first Varna International Conducting Competition in 2007 and returned the following year to guest conduct the Vidin State Philharmonic. Three years prior, Villa received a grant from the Global Partners Project to guest conduct the New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria. Villa has also worked with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in the Czech Republic as a 2008 League of American Orchestras Women Conductors Grant recipient.
Before arriving in Davidson, Villa was the principal conductor for the Penn State Sinfonietta. As an advocate of new music, Villa frequently premiered and performed works by living composers with various chamber ensembles in the Penn State community. She also served as assistant conductor for the Lancaster Opera Company, Penn State Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, and the Franklin & Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra.
Villa’s previous mentors include Donald Portnoy, Gerardo Edelstein, and Brian Norcross. Conductors with whom Villa has 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.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Villa holds degrees from Franklin & Marshall College, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of South Carolina. Off of the podium she enjoys dancing, painting, golfing, kayaking, free-lancing as a percussionist, and playing with her many cats.
Awards and Honors