Anwar Gabriel Myron Ottley
Anwar Ottley, a singer, pianist, organist, conductor, and composer/arranger is the latest musician in a family that has been active in music for over two centuries. Beginning in his high school years, when he conducted a gospel choir, and continuing to the present, less than a decade later, he has demonstrated unusual performance, teaching, and conducting gifts.
Anwar is the son of Myron S. Ottley, a scientist and well-known singer and choral conductor, and Cheryl Harper Ottley of Adventist Healthcare, and a grandson of Neville Ottley, a gifted singer. At age five he started taking piano lessons at the Ottley Music School from his aunt, Nevilla E. Ottley-Adjahoe, owner and director of the school.
Born in Takoma Park, Maryland, he attended George E. Peters SDA School and Takoma Academy, where he organized and directed a highly successful gospel choir, Shabach, an activity that led to a scholarship to attend Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania during his senior year. He continued his piano study there with Toni Hall and conducting under Jason Ferdinand, later choral conductor at Oakwood University.
Following graduation from PFA in 2003, he was awarded a four-year music scholarship to attend Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, where he studied organ with Mark Wiley and conducting under James Bingham. At the end of his second year, he switched from music education to organ performance and completed a degree in that area in 2007, honored as Senior of the Year.
He also sang in the select and internationally traveled choral group Pro Musica under Bingham. During three of his four years at CUC he directed the 35-voice Black Student Union Choir in performances at Takoma Park, Sligo, and Metropolitan SDA churches that featured the music of black composers and their music from the Renaissance to the present, with the choir singing in several languages, a cappella or accompanied by piano, organ, orchestra, or band. During his college years and the year following graduation, he taught piano and steel drum at the Ottley Music School
After Ottley completed an M.Mus in conducting at Andrews University, studying under Steve Zork and Claudio Gonzales, he returned to the Washington, D.C., area, where for a short while he conducted the Metrosingers and taught piano and steel drums at OMS.
Since 2009 he serves as Minister of Music at Takoma Park Adventist Church and as Director of Music at John Nevins Andrews Elementary School. In his work at JNA, he teaches music appreciation and directs the treble choir, hand bell/chimes choir, and a steel drum ensemble.
Ottley composes and arranges choral music which is sung nationwide by choral groups. He is a professional member and assists in rehearsals of the Washington Master Chorale, mentored by Thomas Colohan, Artistic Director.
Sources: Information provided by Anwar Ottley; Ottley School of Music website: biographical information about members of the Neville E. Ottley family, his ancestors and descendants, and listing of faculty. Takoma Park SDA Church website; Linkedln website; and other online sources. Source: Information provided by Anwar Ottley and Nevilla Ottley-Adjahoe, August 2012.