As part of a concert titled "Women Composers of the Present," principal conductor H. Robert Reynolds leads the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble in "Smoke & Mirrors" by Erica Muhl at the University of Southern California's Bovard Auditorium. The performance appeared on KCET's television show Open Call with host Suzanna Guzmán.
SMOKE & MIRRORS
H. Robert Reynolds is the principal conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the USC Thornton School of Music where he holds the H. Robert Reynolds Professorship in Wind Conducting. This appointment followed his retirement, after 26 years, from the School of Music of the University of Michigan where he served as the Henry F. Thurnau Professor of Music, Director of University Bands and Director of the Division of Instrumental Studies. In addition to these responsibilities, he has also been, for over 30 years, the conductor of The Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, which is made up primarily of members from the Detroit Symphony.
Reynolds has conducted recordings for Koch International, Pro Arte, Caprice, and Deutsche Grammophon. In the United States, he has conducted at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center (New York), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Kennedy Center (Washington, D. C.), Powell Symphony Hall (St. Louis), Academy of Music (Philadelphia), and Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles). In Europe, he conducted the premiere of an opera for La Scala Opera (Milan, Italy), and concerts at the prestigious Maggio Musicale (Florence, Italy), the Tonhalle (Zurich, Switzerland), and at the Holland Festival in the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Holland), as well as the 750th Anniversary of the City of Berlin. He has won the praise of composers: Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Henryk Gorecki, Karel Husa, Gyorgy Ligeti, Darius Milhaud, Bernard Rands, Gunther Schuller, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and many others for his interpretive conducting of their compositions.
Reynolds has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Duquesne University, and in addition, holds degrees in Music Education and Performance from the University of Michigan where he was the conducting student of Elizabeth Green. He began his career in the public schools of Michigan and California before beginning his university conducting at California State University at Long Beach and the University of Wisconsin prior to his tenure at the University of Michigan. He received the Citation of Merit from the Music Alumni Association of the University of Michigan for his contributions to the many students he has influenced during his career and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Band Alumni Association. He is also an Honorary Life Member of the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association.
Reynolds is past president of the College Band Directors’ National Association and the Big Ten Band Directors’ Association. He has received the highest national awards from Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Association, and the American School Band Directors’ Association, and he was awarded the “Medal of Honor” by the International Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic. He is the recipient of a “Special Tribute” from the State of Michigan, and he served for many years on the National Awards Panel for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and in 2001 received a national award from this organization for his contributions to contemporary American music. He is also listed in the New Groves Dictionary of American Music, and his frequent conducting appearances have included (among others) the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, Manhattan School of Music, the Tanglewood Institute, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Reynolds has been a featured conductor and lecturer at international conferences in Austria, Norway, Belgium, England, Holland, Slovenia, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland. He has conducted in many of the major cities of Japan, Spain, and Sweden including concerts with the Stockholm Wind Orchestra, the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra and professional wind ensembles in Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain. Many of his former students now hold major conducting positions at leading conservatories and universities, and several have been National Presidents of CBDNA.
The USC Thornton Wind Ensemble consistently presents innovative programs featuring the best of wind compositions and arrangements. The USC Thornton Wind Ensemble has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as Carnegie Hall and Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota—both for the National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA)—and for various musical gatherings in the state of California. The ensemble’s repertoire ranges from the early brass music of Gabrieli through the serenades of Mozart and Haydn, to the most recent contemporary music written for wind ensembles. Distinguished past conductors of the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble include Lucien Cailliet, William Schaefer, Robert Wojciak, and Douglas Lowry (former Dean of the Eastman School of Music).