2015 National Wind Band Honors Project
When Don Wilcox retired as Director of Bands Emeritus from West Virginia University in the summer of 2005, he had guided the growth and development of the University’s band program for 34 years. During this time the WVU Wind Symphony performed numerous special concerts for regional and national conventions of the ABA, CBDNA, MENC, and WASBE, and toured nationally. The Mountaineer Marching Band was the 1997 recipient of the Sudler Trophy, and during the summer of 2001, the Centennial year of the WVU band program, the WVU Alumni Band toured Europe, performing concerts in England, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2005 they made their second European Tour with performances in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Slovak Republic, and concluding in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Wilcox is a Past President of the American Bandmasters Association and has served extensively on the Board of Directors of both the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the ABA. He has received WVU’s Outstanding Teacher Award, the 1993 Golden Apple Outstanding Faculty Award, was chosen for the Great Teachers Seminar and is the first teacher ever named Distinguished Fine Arts Alumnus of California State University at Long Beach. Mr. Wilcox is a National Arts Associate by Sigma Alpha Iota and the recipient of the Sudler Order of Merit from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, the Distinguished Service To Music Award from the National Council of Kappa Kappa Psi, and West Virginia University’s Heebink Award for Outstanding Service to the university and the state. He has received special citations from four Governors for his contributions to the state of West Virginia. In a teaching and conducting career spanning forty-eight years Mr. Wilcox has worked with musicians of all ages and abilities, conducting bands from one-room schools in rural Appalachia to several of the major concert halls in the world, and in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries. On four different occasions, he spent a semester teaching in Tokyo, Japan as guest conductor of the Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble, each culminating in tours of Japan and CD recordings for Sony. Mr. Wilcox has served as guest conductor or visiting lecturer at more than 50 universities in the United States, Europe, Japan, Thailand, and China, and in “retirement” maintains an active international schedule as a clinician and conductor.
Stephen Peterson was appointed director of bands at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, in 1998, where he currently conducts the Wind Ensemble, teaches courses in conducting and wind literature, and heads the band and MM wind conducting programs. From 1988-1998 he served as associate director of bands at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Peterson was also conductor of the renowned Northshore Concert Band. He held positions as associate and interim director of bands at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas and has several years of successful teaching experience in the public schools in Arizona.
Peterson maintains a busy schedule as a conductor and clinician, and as such, has appeared on four continents and in forty states. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, The New York State Band Director’s Association, the New York State School Music Association, and has been honored with membership in the prestigious American Bandmaster’s Association. He is also member of Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota, and Kappa Kappa Psi. He is currently president of the College Band Directors National Association.
Dr. Peterson was the first to receive the Doctor of Music degree in wind conducting from Northwestern University and earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University. His ensembles have appeared before national conventions of the American Bandmaster’s Association, the College Band Director’s National Association, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, the American School Band Director’s Association, at Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and at Lincoln Center. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Ithaca College Faculty Excellence Award, recognizing his contributions to Ithaca College.
As Director of Bands, and Professor of Conducting, Thomas Leslie has earned recognition for high quality performances of the UNLV Bands. During his tenure at UNLV, his bands have received critical acclaim from members of the international music world. Such notables include composers Malcolm Arnold, Bruce Broughton, Eric Whitacre and Frank Ticheli, United States Marine Band Conductor Emeritus Colonel John Bourgeois, (Ret.), Colonel Lowell Graham, Conductor United States Air Force Band, (Ret.), United States Navy Band Conductor Commander John Pastin (Ret.), Dr. Harry Begian, Director Emeritus, University of Illinois, Grammy Award winning recording artists Eric Marienthal, Jimmy Haslip, Will Kennedy and Russell Ferrante.
Recognized for a fresh, interpretative style among collegiate wind orchestras, Thomas Leslie and the UNLV Wind Orchestra continue to excel in their commitment to commission new works by the next generation of the world’s finest young composers. This ensemble, under Professor Leslie’s baton, has premiered numerous pieces commissioned by UNLV, Professor Leslie and the Wind Orchestra. Professor Leslie has conducted, and recorded eighteen compact disc recordings with the UNLV Wind Orchestra. They are: 1994 – The UNLV Wind Symphony; Ghost Train; Gawd$illa Eats Las Vegas; It Takes a Village; Monkey; No Mo’ Chalumeau, and Chunk (all title tracks commissioned by Thomas Leslie), BCM… Saves the World, Bandanna, the complete Daron Hagen opera, 3 Steps Forward, the premiere disc in the new UNLV Wind Orchestra Series for Klavier Recordings, Spiritual Planet, 4 Flew Over the Hornet’s Nest, The Quest, Vegas Maximus, Concerto for Marienthal, Marquee Mojo, Lost Vegas, and Ventanas, the newest release in the collection. All of these recordings have received noteworthy acclaim in professional journals in addition to high praise from colleagues throughout the world.
An adjudicator and conductor throughout the United States, Professor Leslie has also been invited to conduct performances and clinics internationally in Australia, Ireland, Japan, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Canada. Under his direction, the UNLV Wind Orchestra has appeared as an invited performing group at the College Band Directors National Association Conference in March 1994, the Music Educators National Conference Biennial Convention in April 1998, the American Bandmasters Association National Convention in March 2001, and numerous state music educator conferences. The UNLV Wind Orchestra performed as the featured ensemble at the Hokkaido Band Association Clinic in Sapporo, Japan, in May 2002, and was featured in multiple performance tour at the La Croix Valmer International Music Festival in St, Tropez, France in June 2005. Professor Leslie is the founder and Musical Director for the Las Vegas Youth Wind Orchestra, an honor ensemble comprised of Las Vegas’ most accomplished wind and percussion musicians. The UNLV College of Fine Arts awarded Professor Leslie the CFA Teacher of the Year Award in 2006.
Thomas Leslie received degrees in Music Education from The University of Iowa and Indiana State University. Elected in March of 2012, Professor Leslie served office as the 75th President of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and currently serves as Chairman of the ABA Nominating Committee. He was originally inducted to membership in 1997 and he hosted the National Convention of this very distinguished group in Las Vegas in March 2001. He continues to be a long-standing member of the College Band Directors National Association, and has served as Western Division Chair for the National Band Association. Professor Leslie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the John Philip Sousa Foundation.