Dr. Robert Grechesky is Emeritus Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Butler University. He recently retired from active teaching after 41 years of service at Butler. In addition to his duties with the band program, he taught conducting, music education courses, wind band history and literature, and euphonium. He received his B.A. in Music Education from Rutgers University, and his M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Education and Conducting from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
He holds/has held memberships and offices in many professional organizations, including the American Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association (former North Central Division Secretary -Treasurer), the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the International Society for the Investigation and Promotion of Wind Music (International Board Member), Indiana Bandmasters Association, National Association for Music Education, Indiana Music Educators Association (former board member and Editor of state journal), National Band Association (member of Composition Competition Committee), Phi Beta Mu, Vaughan Williams Society, and the Percy Grainger Society (Life Member). He also served on the Fine Arts Advisory Council for the State Board of Education where he helped rewrite the curriculum guidelines for music in the state of Indiana.
He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by the Governor of Indiana, the highest civilian award that the State can give. He is the recipient of the A. Frank Martin Award, given by Kappa Kappa Psi for outstanding service to college bands, was named 2010 “Outstanding University Music Educator” by the Indiana Music Educators Association, and was selected as the 2010-2011 recipient of the James B. Calvert Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indiana Wind Symphony. He is a member of the Butler University Athletic Hall of Fame, and was recently awarded the Butler Service Medal, the highest faculty award given by the Butler Alumni Association.
As a conductor, his groups have performed for the conventions of the Mid-Europe International Conference for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music (IGEB), the First International Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the American Bandmasters Association, the International Percussive Arts Society, the International Trumpet Guild, the Soiree Musicale de Bissen in Luxembourg, the International Music Festival in Bologna, Italy, the Great American Brass Band Festival, and the Indiana Music Educators Association (five times). He has been responsible for the commissioning and premieres of a myriad of works for band and wind ensemble, and he has received praise from composers Karel Husa, Vincent Persichetti, Michael Schelle, Eric Ewazen, Frank Felice, James Syler, Arnold Franchetti, John Stevens, and Bradley Nelson for his interpretive handling of their works. He has guest conducted bands in several countries, including Honor Bands and All State Bands in several states, Panama, Shanghai, China, Portugal, the Western Jamaica International Music Festival, the Newfoundland and Labrador Musicfest, the Great Lake Music Ambassadors in Washington, D.C. Toronto, Ontario, and Florida, the College Band Directors National Association Divisional and National Conventions, and the Wind Orchestra of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England. He conducted the world premiere of Eric Ewazen’s “Shadowcatcher” with the American Brass Quintet in Clowes Memorial Hall, and has conducted the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, and most recently at Brucker Hall in Washington, D.C., where he conducted the band and the Army Brass Quintet in the Washington premiere of Shadowcatcher. He has also conducted the United States Army Field Band twice. He has conducted both the American Brass Quintet and the Empire Brass Quintet in concert, and has collaborated with internationally known instrumental and vocal artists in a variety of settings.
Dr. Grechesky was the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphonic Winds, a professional wind band dedicated to the purpose of bringing quality performances of band and wind ensemble music to the people of Indiana. For 28 years he was also the Music Director and Conductor of the Indianapolis Brass Choir, one of the most active performing groups in Indiana, and served as conductor for the annual Tubachristmas concert in downtown Indianapolis. He served as the band liaison between the PAX-I committee and Walt Disney Productions and was Co-Director of the Fanfare Trumpets for the Opening Ceremonies of the Tenth Pan American Games; he was the Director of the massed bands for the grand opening of Indianapolis Union Station, served as Music Director of My Indiana Holiday Wishes, a Christmas show presented at Market Square Arena, and coordinated special musical events for the Indianapolis Commission for the Downtown, including the 1991 and 1997 NCAA Final Four Basketball Championships, the Opening Ceremonies of the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships, the 1992 and 1995 Olympic Swimming Trials, and the 2001 Opening Ceremonies of the World Police and Fire Games. He has also been nominated by the League of Professionally Managed Theaters for a “Pat” Award for Best Musical Direction for his conducting of Indianapolis Civic Theater’s production of “Peter Pan.”
Dr. Grechesky is also actively engaged in research on the band and its history and literature, as well as the art of conducting. He has given presentations and papers on band literature and conducting at conferences on the state, regional, national, and international levels, including six Regional and two National Conventions of the College Band Directors National Association, the Eighth International Congress of the International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music at Oberschützen, Austria, the Ninth Congress at Toblach, Italy, and the Fourteenth Congress in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria,the Nineteenth Congress in Oberschutzen, Austria, and the Twentieth Congress in Coimbra, Portugal; the Fifth World Conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles at Manchester, England, and the Eighth Congress in Schladming, Austria. He is an American reader and serves as a member of the selection committee for the IGEB Research Award, given by the IGEB to the outstanding American dissertation on the topic of the wind band for the last biennium.
As a euphoniumist, he has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia á Vent (three compact disks on the Klavier label), the Indianapolis Brass Choir, the Indianapolis Symphonic Band, the White River Brass Quintet, the Indianapolis Chamber Brass, the Indianapolis Concert Band, the Indiana Wind Symphony, the Kokomo Park Band, and the Cobb Wind Symphony, as well as serving as a regular member of the Harvey Phillips TubaCompany and Tuba Santas. He presented the premiere of Bradley Nelson’s euphonium concerto, Magnificat: Victimae Paschali in Clowes Memorial Hall, has performed regularly in recording studio sessions, and has been a guest soloist with bands and ensembles throughout the Midwest. In March of 2003 he premiered the Concerto for Euphonium and Wind Ensemble, a commissioned concerto by internationally renowned Juilliard composer, Eric Ewazen with the Butler University Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Clowes Memorial Hall, and has commissioned two additional euphonium solos, Waiting for Gounod: A Set of Variations in Nine Offices for euphonium and string orchestra by Frank Felice, and Dual Carbs, for euphonium and mixed chamber ensemble, by Michael Schelle.
He has authored two books, magazine and journal articles on wind band repertoire, and his research on band music has led to editions of the wind music of Vaughan Williams, Holst, and Gliere, His edition of the Gliere “Overture Solenelle” has been recorded on the Chandos label by the Wind Orchestra of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England, and his Vaughan Williams editions appear on the GIA label, recorded by the University of North Texas Wind Symphony. He also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and is a contributing author to the series of textbooks, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band
Chicago native Jon Ceander Mitchell holds the title Professor Emeritus of Music at University of Massachusetts Boston, where he served as Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra, and Coordinator of Music Education for nearly a quarter of a century. In addition to conducting and methods courses, he taught orchestration and several courses for the Honors College: “Heirs and Rebels” (Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams), “Beethoven,” “Mozart in Vienna” and “Philip Hale: Music Criticism and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.” Outside the university, he founded and conducted the Boston Neo-politan Chamber Orchestra, a professional music ensemble.
A well-known clinician on Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Anton Rubinstein, he has over one hundred publications to his credit, including dozens of articles, reviews, edited band works (published by Novello and Boosey & Hawkes), and seven books of which he is sole author and an eighth where he is co-author. Of particular interest to band/wind ensemble enthusiasts are From Kneller Hall to Hammersmith: The Band Works of Gustav Holst, A Comprehensive Biography of Composer Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Wind Works, and Sounds of the Circus: A Tribute to Richard Whitmarsh and the South Shore Concert Band. Other book titles include The Brauschweig Scores: Felix Weingartner and Erich Leinsdorf on the First Four Symphonies of Beethoven, and Trans-Atlantic Passages: Philip Hale on the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1889-1933.
Now You Can Take Off Your Clothes: Vignettes of an American Conductor Lost in Translation (Whitman, MA: Riverhaven Books, 2020) is his latest book. The result of over fifty trips to Europe, it is a humorous autobiographical account of adventures both on and off the podium.
He has guest conducted in Europe (including the UK, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Russia) and the United States. He has recorded ten CDs with professional orchestras; these are on the Centaur and Vienna Music Masters labels. Among the works featured on these recordings are the complete Anton Rubinstein piano concertos with pianist Grigorios Zamparas–the first conductor/pianist team to record all five. Gustav Holst: Composer and Arranger features the premiere re-cordings of seven works. His own realization of the orchestral score to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO4 is featured on The Youthful Beethoven. Other composers represented in this series include Jeffrey Jacob, Richard Strauss, Henry Purcell, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and J. S. Bach.
He was editor of the CODA (College Orchestra Directors Association) Journal for over a decade and is the 2019 recipient of the CODA Lifetime Achievement Award. He currently serves on the boards of IGEB (International Society for the Promotion and Investigation of Wind Music) and the International Conductors Guild. He is also a member of WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles), CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association), NAfME (National Association for Music Education), The Holst Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
In addition to conferences of the above organizations, he has given addresses at the East Coast Band Conference, Great American Brass Band Festival, British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, Eastman Wind Ensemble Fortieth Anniversary, New England Band Festival, Massachusetts Music Educators Association, Windjammers, Curry College Guest Lecture Series, Holst Fests (in Indiana and Connecticut), Franklin, MA Arts Week, Beethoven-Thayer Day at the Morse Institute, and the Osher Institute, among others.
Previous academic experience includes full-time faculty positions at the University of Georgia, Carnegie Mellon University, and Hanover College. All involved conducting and music education. In addition to the ensembles associated with these institutions, he held music directorships at a number of churches and a barbershop chorus. While in Pittsburgh, he was conductor of the North Pittsburgh Civic Symphony; in the Boston area, he conducted a number of Messiah sings and guest conducted throughout the area. Prior to his thirty-six year career in academia, he was a high school band director for seven years, starting with two years in Adjuntas, Puerto, where he was part of the University of Illinois-Puerto Rico programs.
His baccalaureate degree is from Millikin University; his Masters and Doctorate are from the University of Illinois. While at the latter named institution, he was a conducting intern with the University of Illinois Bands under Harry Begian. His thesis advisor was Richard Colwell. Since then he has attended a great many conducting workshops spearheaded by such mentors as Victor Feldbrill, Jonathan Sternberg, H. Robert Reynolds, Eugene Corporon and Craig Kirchhoff. His major instrument was the trombone and he performed in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Musical endeavors include composing, arranging and writing about music. Non-musical hobbies include a burgeoning coaster collection, coin collecting, genealogy, model railroading, and travel.
He and his wife Ester live in the Greater Boston metropolitan area.