Northwest Band Festival 2020 Clinicians
Michael Burch-Pesses is the conductor and
musical director of the Oregon Symphonic Band, Oregon’s premier adult band. A
former Navy bandmaster, he has conducted bands throughout the United States,
Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and is in wide
demand as a guest conductor, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator. He first came to OSB as a guest conductor in
1998 and became our full time conductor in 2002.
Since 1995 he has served as Director of
Bands at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he conducts the
Symphonic Band and Jazz Band, and teaches courses in conducting and music
history. During his tenure at Pacific University the instrumental program has
more than doubled in size and continues to achieve ever higher levels of
musical maturity. He has received two awards for excellence in teaching from
the University, and in 2018 the Oregon Music Educators Association recognized
his teaching with the John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award, the highest
award the Association bestows.
Dr. Burch-Pesses enjoyed a distinguished
career as a bandmaster in the United States Navy before arriving at Pacific
University, enlisting as a horn player and working his way up through the ranks
to become the Navy’s senior bandmaster and Head of the Navy Music Program.
During his Navy career he served as Leader of the Naval Academy Band in
Annapolis, Maryland. Under his direction the Naval Academy Band received the
George Howard Citation of Musical Excellence from the John Philip Sousa Foundation,
the highest civilian award for a military band. He also served as Assistant
Leader of the Navy Band in Washington, DC, and Director of the Commodores, the
Navy’s official jazz ensemble. He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, the
highest award ever given to a Navy bandmaster.
Dr. Burch-Pesses holds Master of Music and
Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from the Benjamin T. Rome School
of Music of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is an
elected member of the American Bandmasters Association, and is Past President
of the Northwest Division of the College Band Directors Association. He
currently serves as President of the Oregon Band Directors Association.