North West Festival Orchestra

"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." G.M.

Dr. Verne A. Schwager

 An avid music enthusiast all his life, our conductor this evening has studied music: conducting, composition, and performance since childhood days.  As an early teen, Schwager studied conducting with Eugene Crabb at Florida State University, and later with William C. Miller, a distinguished Florida-based pedagogue and music educator.  He received a number of honors during his school years and, at age 17, was invited to conduct the Florida State Clinic Orchestra by Paul Yoder, a noted educator and pedagogue.

 Declining  an invitation to study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Schwager attended Northwestern University‚Äôs School of Music, studying with Dr. Thor Johnson (orchestra) and Prof. Arrand Parsons (music theory, counterpoint) among others.  The University of Wisconsin conferred upon him the Doctorate degree in his mid twenties.

 In recent years, he journeyed to Vienna a number of times to confer and study with the late Prof. Adolf Holler, former principal trumpet of the Wiener Philharmoniker and Dr. Otto Biba, noted musicologist and lecturer at the Musikverein Library.

 More recently, he has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra during a special concert and the musicians of Madison (WI) and Elmhurst.  With the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra, he has conducted Brahms and Bizet; there he coached with Maestro Steven Larsen, present Conductor of the Rockford Symphony.  Schwager has also conducted various community orchestras in Wisconsin and Florida.  He co-founded the Arlington Heights Festival Orchestra, a fully professional organization, which gave its successful inaugural concert in May 2001.  Our present orchestra is the successor to this initial grouping of musicians.

 In recent seasons he has established a relationship with the Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra headquartered at Wright College as Assistant Conductor under the leadership of Michael Holian, longstanding Music Director.