Behind the music,
we keep it wild.
In the early months of the pandemic, Robert Heath and Mark Wallace had a vision to create an orchestra in north central West Virginia. Three years later, the Black Diamond Philharmonic has become one of the premier professional music organizations in the state. Read on to get to know Robert and Mark.
Music Director and Co-Founder
Originally from Chester (the most northern town in West Virginia and home of the world’s largest teapot), I have traveled the world and West Virginia during my time with the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet Band (based out of Yokosuka, Japan) and the West Virginia Army National Guard's 249th Army Band* (based out of Morgantown). I have seen music inspire patriotism in West Virginia and build bridges across cultural gaps in Southeast Asia and Australia. Upon returning from the Navy, I completed a master’s degree from the University of California in San Diego. Life has shown me that music and the arts have a substantial role to play in making the world a better place. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share great music from around the world with my fellow West Virginians!
Resident Conductor and Co-Founder
Originally a native of Dayton, Ohio, saxophonist and conductor Mark Wallace is no stranger to West Virginia and Appalachia, as his maternal family hails from the Northern Panhandle. Mark has earned degrees from The Ohio State University and Youngstown State University, and is currently a graduate student at West Virginia University, where he continues his studies in saxophone and conducting. As a member of the West Virginia National Guard's 249th Army Band, Mark has played throughout the state of West Virginia and has had the opportunity to see how music has positively affected people first hand. When not studying or performing music, Mark enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling.