Conductors

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James Patrick Miller is Assistant Professor and Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where he conducts the wind ensemble, symphony band, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting. Under Miller's leadership the UMass wind bands have appeared at the College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference, commissioned, premiered and recorded new works, hosted nationally renowned guest conductors, soloists, and composers, and frequently toured to public schools throughout the Northeast for education outreach programs.

From 2002-2006 Professor Miller served as Assistant Conductor of Wind Ensembles and conductor of the University Chorale at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY, where he directed the Wind Symphony, Chorale and Low Brass Choir. His past faculty appointments also include Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY and Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Miller also served as co-artistic director and founding member of the Sapphire Chamber Consort, a professional vocal and instrumental chamber ensemble based in Minneapolis, MN, from 2006- 2009.

Very active as a clinician and guest conductor, Miller has appeared throughout the Northeast and the Midwest with public school and festival ensembles. Recent and upcoming engagements include: the All-New England Music Festival High School Band (NEMFA), The Capital Region Wind Ensemble, St. Olaf College Band Day, NYSSMA Area All-State Festivals, Massachusetts Music Educators Western (2010), Central (2011), South Eastern (2012), and North Eastern (2013) District High School Festival Bands, the NYSBDA All-State Middle Level Band, the Connecticut ASBDA concert band, as well as district and large ensemble festivals in Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

In 2003 Miller received national recognition by winning the American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Prize at the graduate level. Throughout his career with the Chorale at Cornell University, the choral ensembles at the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary, festivals and public school ensembles, and teaching and mentoring at the UMass Summer Conducting Institute, Miller is also in demand as a choral conductor, working diligently to promote a holistic study of the art of conducting from both choral and instrumental perspectives.

Dr. Miller has been involved in the commissioning of more than 30 works for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles over the last 10 years, and his ensemble's performances have been noted by such composers as Shawn Allison, Karel Husa, James Stephenson, Steven Stucky, Judith Weir and Dana Wilson. Miller's mentors have included Steven Amundson, Craig Kirchhoff, Timothy Mahr, Stephen Peterson, Kathy Romey, Robert Scholz and Scott Tucker.

Originally from Winona, MN, Dr. Miller holds the DMA in conducting from the University of Minnesota where he was named a College of Liberal Arts and School of Music Graduate Research Fellow for the summer of 2008, the MM degree in conducting from Ithaca College, and a BM in music education magna cum laude from St. Olaf College. Professor Miller has been affiliated professionally with the College Band Directors National Association, MENC/ NAfME, Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He was inducted as an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi at UMass Amherst in 2012 and elected into Pi Kappa Lambda in 2001. Miller resides in South Hadley, MA with his wife, conductor and soprano Heidi Johanna Miller, their daughter, Linnea, and their two rambunctious cats.

Tony Thornton | Active as a conductor, teacher, author, and clinician, Tony Thornton received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Voice from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Historical Musicology from the University of Arizona.

He has studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, Bruce Chamberlain, Donald Neuen and Constantina Tsolainou.

Trained first as a singer, Dr. Thornton has performed as a tenor soloist throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. As a member of the Westminster Choir, he performed at the Spoleto Festivals in both Italy and the United States, and he has recorded with Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta. He sang for seven years as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

As a guest conductor and clinician who is active on the national and international choral scene, Dr. Thornton has worked with over 150 women's, men's, and mixed choruses in public schools, colleges, churches, community and professional organizations. A strong advocate for the choral arts, Thornton was engaged for four years by the Beyond the Bell Branch of the Los Angeles Unified School District - the second largest school district in the nation - to present choral pedagogy workshops to music teachers and choral master classes to students in middle and high schools. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to work with thousands of singers and their teachers.

Highlights of his 2010-11 season include conducting the Massachusetts ACDA Honor Choirs, New Hampshire All-State Women's Choir, Massachusetts MEA Western District Senior Mixed Chorus, and the Vermont ACDA Community Chorus Festival, as well as conducting workshops with several high schools throughout New England.

Dr. Thornton is the author of The Choral Singer's Survival Guide (giamusic.com). Already a popular tool for singers and conductors around the world, The Choral Singer's Survival Guide leads singers through the life cycle of the choral experience, from auditions and rehearsals to the performance and beyond. He is the General Editor of the Julius Herford Collection (forthcoming) and he maintains a choral series in his name at Colla Voce Music.

Thornton has held teaching positions at California State University-Los Angeles, Los Angeles City College, and Pomona College. He was Artistic Director of Los Angeles Choral Artists from 2003-2009 and the Tucson Masterworks Chorale from 2006-2008. Dr. Thornton is currently Director of Choral Activities at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he oversees an extensive choral program that includes six ensembles and directs the graduate program in choral conducting. Thornton conducts the Chamber Choir, University Chorale, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and choral literature. He also serves as a Summer Session and Saturday Seminar faculty member at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Dr. Thornton holds active memberships in ACDA, Chorus America, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization. He is a national member of Phi Mu Alpha.

Frank Battisti, 2013 Guest Wind Conductor | Frank Battisti is Conductor Emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. He began his teaching career in the Ithaca (NY) Public Schools in 1953 and was Director of Bands at Ithaca High School from 1955 - 67. Under his direction the band became one of the finest and most unique ensembles in the nation. Its innovative commissioning project generated 24 works composed by distinguished American composers. Battisti's Ithaca High School Concert Band is included on the Sousa Foundation's Historic Roll of Honor of High School Concert Bands, 1920 -1980.

Battisti taught at the New England Conservatory from 1969 - 1999. Under his leadership the NEC Wind Ensemble established itself as being one of the premiere ensembles of its kind in the world. Throughout his career Battisti commissioned and premiered works by many of the world's leading composers including John Harbison, Witold Lutoslawski, Vincent Persichetti, Michael Colgrass, Daniel Pinkham, Gunther Schuller, Robert Ward, Ivan Tcheripnin, Sir Michael Tippett, Warren Benson, Leslie Bassett and Alec Wilder.

Battisti has guest conducted university, military, professional and school bands/ wind ensembles in the United States, England, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Scandinavia, Australia, China, Taiwan, Canada, South America, South Korea, Iceland and the U.S.S.R. He founded the World Association of Wind Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, New England College Band Association and the Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Wind Ensemble; served as an editor for music publishing companies and has written hundreds of articles on wind ensemble/band literature, conducting and music education. He has also authored/co-authored five books ( The 20th Century American Wind Band/Ensemble, The Winds of Change, On Becoming a Conductor: Lessons and Meditations on the Art of Conducting, Score Study for the Wind Band Conductor and Lead and Inspire).

Included among the many awards Battisti has received are Honorary Doctorate of Music degrees from Ithaca College and Rhode Island College, New England Conservatory's Krasner Excellence in Teaching Award, Massachusetts Music Educators' Lowell Mason Award, National Band Association AWAPA Award and Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor.

Wayne Abercrombie, 2013 Guest Choral Conductor | Wayne Abercrombie is Professor Emeritus of Music and former Director of Choral Programs, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, where he conducted and taught conducting, worked with the Music Education program, and directed the graduate program in Choral Conducting. He is Founding Conductor of the new Children's Chorus of Springfield, now in its third season.

Dr. Abercrombie's degrees are from Westminster Choir College, (B.M. in Voice and M.M. in Conducting), and from Indiana (D. Mus. in Choral Conducting with Highest Honors). He has been Assistant Conductor and/or Chorus Director of the Johnstown (PA), Elkhart (IN) and Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra Choruses. He taught and conducted at West Georgia College and Indiana University at South Bend, has taught voice and sung recitals and solos with orchestra, and was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus under Robert Shaw.

Choirs under his direction have appeared at various professional conferences and have toured the Eastern Seaboard and in Europe, and the 2004 tour singing in St. Thomas' Church, Leipzig, St. Stephen's in Vienna, and St. Mark's in Venice. The repertoire comprised music written for those venues.

In summer, 2006, he taught master classes in conducting at the Seventh Taipei International Choral Festival, and is a frequent clinician at professional conferences and for individual choral programs and conductors.

His appearances as guest conductor include festival choruses and orchestras throughout New England, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Pennsylvania, as well as the Five College Orchestra, the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra and both of its youth orchestras. His third appearance as conductor of the Massachusetts All-State Chorus was in 2007. He has lectured, conducted clinics, taught in and served as consultant to colleges, high schools and churches, and at conferences of the American Guild of Organists, the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He served on the Executive Boards of the Conductors Guild and the Massachusetts Music Educators Association.

In ACDA, he has served on the state, division and national boards, as President of the Massachusetts chapter and was President of ACDA's Eastern Division 2004-2006, and was named Massachusetts ACDA 2007 Conductor of the Year.

He enjoys the diversity of his six wonderful children, numerous grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and life in Hadley with his wife, Kayla Werlin.

Timothy Anderson, 2013 Guest Wind Conductor | Timothy Anderson is Assistant Professor and Director of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where he directs the Marching Band, Hoop Band, and Concert Band.

Dr. Anderson served as Associate Director of Bands at California State University, Fresno where he was responsible for all aspects of the athletic bands program. He directed the nearly 300-member Bulldog Marching Band and pep band, the symphonic band, concert band and other ensembles. He taught music majors and non-majors including courses in Music Appreciation and Music Education, and was involved in community outreach. An accomplished director who was trained in some of the best programs, he has a wealth of experience with Division I marching bands.

He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate of Education in Music Education from the University of Illinois. Dr. Anderson is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Before coming to Fresno State, he was a graduate assistant with the University of Illinois bands. Anderson was a frequent clinician with school band programs throughout California.

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