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Festival Artists

A few of the returning artists to the Festival each year are…..

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Formally established in 1935, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra began a period of significant growth in 1947 when David Van Vactor assumed dual roles as Chairman of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Fine Arts and the KSO’s Music Director.
For the next 26 years, Van Vactor attracted many outstanding musicians to the community and nurtured the Orchestra’s burgeoning reputation for excellence. Today the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the United States.


Yuri Vodovoz, Violinist Violinist, Yuri Vodovoz, native of Odessa has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Israel and South America. His debuts at the Kennedy Center in Washington and at the Merkin Hall in New York were met with critical acclaim. His playing has been described as “breathtaking” (the Washington Post), “finespun lyricism” and “high-powered technique” (The New York Times). Mr. Vodovoz is on the faculty of Mannes College of Music and Ameropa Summer Festival in Prague.


Assistant Artistic Director, Vladimir Valjarevic, Piano Faculty Mannes College of Music Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pianist Vladimir Valjarevic came to New York City on a scholarship from the Mannes College of Music, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as a recipient of the Marian Marcus Wahl Performance Award. His principal teachers were Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Feltsman. Vladimir Valjarevic has performed in the United States and Europe. He teaches piano at Mannes Preparatory and Extension divisions. Currently, he is a Doctoral Candidate at Rutgers University where he receives Saldarini and Frazier-Durham Awards and studies with Susan Starr.


Robert Taylor, Violin Founder and director of the St. Cecilia Orchestra and the Camerata Virtuosi New York, Mr. Taylor began writing poetry and lyrics around the same time he picked up the violin at age eight. His love of music, languages, literature, and birds has led him to a lifetime of study and travel. A graduate of Holland’s Royal Conservatory, Union College, the University of Bonn, and Princeton University, he has taught foreign languages and ornithology in New York, English and music in China, served as music critic to the Albany Times Union, worked as a freelance musician and writer in Manhattan, a translator in Europe and Asia, and has lectured extensively on opera, literature, and art history.

As a lyricist and librettist, Mr. Taylor has written several new musicals, including “Ace” (Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Old Globe Theatre San Diego, Signature Theatre of Washington DC), “Journey to the West” (New York Music Theatre Festival), and “Dispatches from the Frontlines of Parenting” (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincy Fringe). Other current musical projects include “The Sandman” based on the writings of E. T. A. Hoffmann (Signature Theatre of Washington DC commission), “The Debt to Pleasure” (Adirondack Theatre Festival, Water Tower Theatre Dallas commission), and a musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” set in post Katrina New Orleans. A member of the Dramatist’s Guild, Mr Taylor is represented by CAA (Creative Artists Agency).

Kate Dillingham, Cello Kate Dillingham enjoys an active career in the United States and abroad. She has performed as a soloist with The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, The Moscow Symphony Orchestra, The Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared numerous times at Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, and Symphony Space in New York. She has performed at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA, and has been presented twice at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
Following Ms. Dillingham’s New York debut, Edith Eisler from the New York Concert Review deemed her “an excellent cellist; dignified, intelligent, and compelling. An adventurous, dedicated champion of contemporary music, she performed with admirable control, conviction, and authority.” Ms. Dillingham continues to impress audiences and critics alike. For her performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Soliloquy, the New Music Connoisseur described her as “an extraordinary performer who displayed musical insight and emotional depth…”Ms. Dillingham has served on the faculty at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and The New York Summer Music Festival at SUNY, Oneanta

kim foster

Kim Foster, Violin Violist Kimberly Foster Wallace represents a new definition of classical musician in the 21st century through her creation of a portfolio career. As musician and educator, she stresses creative career building that combines performance and entrepreneurial skills, and promotes this broad definition of career development through her own example. She is a strong advocate of rarely performed solo and chamber works featuring the viola, and strives to broaden the concert repertoire of the viola as a solo instrument. As entrepreneur, she has started her own businesses including a successful private teaching studio in Monmouth County, New Jersey, has organized and promoted her own recitals throughout New York City, and is currently developing a program to teach entrepreneurial skills to college music students.

Festival of the Arts … Thanks to our Sponsors & Patrons!

Since the inception of the Festival of the Arts, the generosity of many donors has made it possible to provide this exceptional cultural treasure to the College and the community. The mission of Southwest Virginia Community College “provides quality educational and cultural enrichment opportunities for lifelong learners, workforce and community”.

The Festival of the Arts is just one excellent way in which the College can fulfill this part of SWCC’S Mission. Without our generous donors, we would be unable to offer this opportunity to both the College and the Community.


Listed below are sponsors of the Festival of the Arts 2019. This list is updated annually; if you should see an error in this listing, please contact us for correction.

Whole Notes

Nettie Peterson Estate
Stelio and Betty T. Corte Foundation

Half Notes

Ennio and Rosa Corte Foundation
Randy and Julie Forehand
Roy and Dorothy Wright
George M. Cruise Foundation
Katharine B. Tierney Foundation

Quarter Notes

Altizer, Walk and White
Richlands Pharmacy Associates/ New Garden Pharmacy
Joe Adair
Gene and Martha Hurst
Charles R. King
Mary W. Lawson
Lynda Stuart
Mary Sue Whitt
Sandra Whitt
Nancy Albert Wolf
Keene Family Foundation
Columbus Phipps Foundation
Frank L. Smoot Charitable Trust
Community Arts Council of Buchanan County
Tazewell County Board of Supervisors
Tazewell County Public Schools

Eighth Notes

Clinch Valley Medical Center
David Mullins Wealth Management
Street Law Firm
TruPoint Bank
Mary G. Adams
James and Becky Belcher
Donna Bell
Anne Adams Bishop
Nancy G. Brooks
Glenda Calver
Rod Cury
Jim Dickinson
Joyce Gillespie
Larry and Kathy Mitchell
Sam and Martha Varney
SWCC Cultural Arts Series
Russell County Board of Supervisors
Town of Bluefield, VA
Town of Tazewell

Grace Notes

Appalachian Family Care
Leonard Companies
Raven Theater
Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor
Doug and Ginger Branton
Pat Feuchtenberger
Ron and Naomi Levison
Mike McClure
Rod and Linda Moore
Jim Moorhead
Barbara Parker
Edmond Smith
Mary Ann Strong
Jane Thornhill
Bob and Bonnie White
Russell County Rotary Club
Town of Cedar Bluff
Town of Lebanon
Tazewell Music Club

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