Spring 2015 was a milestone.  I finished up my doctoral work at Arizona State University and got my degree in May!  In the process, I conducted some of the ASU ensembles and did an honor band in Rockland County, NY.  I continued to work with my amazing conducting mentors, primarily Gary Hill and Wayne Bailey.  I also finished my DMA thesis: “An Annotated Bibliography of Symphonies for Wind Band.” (click for full text, PDF)

At ASU, the concert season kicked off with the annual Concert of Soloists by the ASU Symphony Orchestra on February 4. The highlight (though I’m hopelessly biased in this regard) was the Percussion Concerto by Joseph Schwantner with Bryan Hummel as percussion soloist and me on the podium.  We made a great team.

The ASU band season got underway the following evening.  We were in the midst of celebrating “ASU Bands at 100!” by playing music from each decade that the bands have existed.  So on February 5, we presented “The Fabulous 50s!”  The Wind Ensemble under Wayne Bailey started it off:

Air for Band – Frank Erickson

Divertimento – Vincent Persichetti

George Washington Bridge – William Schuman (Trae Blanco, Conductor)

The Wind Orchestra under Gary Hill continued:

Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich, arr. Hunsberger

Pageant – Vincent Persichetti (conducted by me)

Symphony for Band – Paul Hindemith

On February 6 and 7 (yes, that was an intense week), I went to Rockland County, NY to conduct their Senior All-County Band.  We played some great rep!

Elixir – Michael Markowski

October – Eric Whitacre

Shepherd’s Hey – Percy Grainger

Prelude, Siciliano, and Rondo – Malcolm Arnold

Next up at ASU was “War and Peace – the 40s and the 80s” on March 3.  Starting with Wayne Bailey and the Wind Ensemble, the repertoire included:

The Immovable Do – Percy Grainger (Seph Coates, conductor)

On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss – David Holsinger

Symphony no. 1 “Lord of the Rings” – Johan de Meij

Gary Hill and Wind Orchestra:

Smetana Fanfare – Karel Husa

Ballad for Band – Morton Gould (Trae Blanco, conductor)

Winds of Nagual – Michael Colgrass

The Wind Orchestra took a solo turn in “From the Great Depression to the Digital Age – the 30s and the 90s” on April 8 with some wonderful repertoire:

Outdoor Overture – Aaron Copland (conducted by Seph Coates)

Suite Française – Francis Poulenc

Desi – Michael Daugherty

Funeral Music for Queen Mary – Henry Purcell, arr. Steven Stucky

On April 14, the Wind Ensemble gave Wayne Bailey a semi-retirement sendoff with a concert of his “Favorite Things”, which include:

George Washington Bicentennial March – J. P. Sousa

Valdres – Johannes Hansen

Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral – Richard Wagner

Second Concerto for Clarinet – Carl Maria von Weber

Pineapple Poll – Sir Arthur Sullivan, arr. Sir Charles Mackerras

They were joined by the ASU Concert Band under Trae Blanco and Seph Coats.  Their repertoire for the semester included:

Scenes from the Louvre – Norman Dello Joio

Original Suite – Gordon Jacob

The Hounds of Spring – Alfred Reed

Three Ayres from Gloucester – Hugh Stuart

Firework – Jan Van der Roost

Chimes of Liberty – Edwin Franko Goldman (conducted by me on 4/14)

Dusk – Steven Bryant

Finally, the ASU Chamber Players, including students and faculty, rounded out the season with some large chamber pieces:

Sonatina/Symphony “The Happy Workshop” – Richard Strauss

La Creation du monde – Darius Milhaud