SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will welcome guest artist-in-residence Frank Battisti to campus next week. The award-winning music educator and wind band expert will present a lecture and work with classes and ensembles from March 11 to March 14.
This is the inaugural guest artist residency to be underwritten by the Band Guest Artist Fund, which was established by Col. Thomas H. Palmatier ’75, Crane alumnus and leader and commander of the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own.” Additional support comes from the Rebekah C. Covell Band Program Fund, provided by Professor Emerita Rebekah C. Covell.
Battisti will present a lecture demonstration entitled “Score Study: Music, Imagination and Marking” on Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in the Ralph Wakefield Recital Hall. He will also participate in a panel discussion on “Characterizing Leadership in Today’s School Ensemble” with the Crane student chapter of the National Association for Music Education on Thursday, March 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Crane Commons.
All events are free, and the public is invited to attend.
Here is an overview of Battisti’s residency:
• Monday, March 11: Speaks about “Large Ensembles in the Music Classroom” and elementary wind practices from noon to 12:50 p.m., in Crane Room C119. Works on score study in action with the Crane Concert Band and student conductors from 4 to 4:50 p.m. in Crane Room C107. He will present a public lecture demonstration entitled “Score Study: Music, Imagination and Marking” at 6 p.m. in Wakefield Hall.
• Tuesday, March 12: Battisti will discuss “Repertoire: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going” and wind band literature from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Crane Room B115. He will work on score study with the Crane Symphonic Band and student conductors from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in Room C107.
• Wednesday, March 13: Speaks about repertoire and programming related to secondary wind practices at 9 a.m. in Room C119. Works with the Crane Concert Band and student conductors from 4 to 4:50 p.m. in Room C107. Battisti will meet with faculty, students, area music educators and community members at 6:45 p.m. in the lobby of the Sara M. Snell Music Theater, before the Potsdam Brass Quintet concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
• Thursday, March 14: Works with the Crane Symphonic Band and student conductors from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in Room C107. Battisti will then participate in a panel discussion on “Characterizing Leadership in Today’s School Ensemble” with the Crane student chapter of the National Association for Music Education from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Crane Commons, led by NAFME President Brandon Carroll.
About the guest artist:
After graduation from Ithaca College, Frank Battisti began his career teaching instrumental music in the Ithaca City Public Schools in 1953. He was appointed Director of Bands at Ithaca High School, his alma mater, in 1955 and remained in that position until 1967. He also served as chairperson of the instrumental music department from 1961-67. Under Battisti’s leadership, the Ithaca High School Band achieved national recognition as one of the finest and most unusual high school bands in the nation. The concert band performed at the Ithaca College School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the Music Educators National Conference, the Midwest National Band and Orchestra Clinic, at Rockefeller Center, at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and at other music conferences.
In 1958, Battisti inaugurated the Ithaca High School Band Commissioning Works Project. From 1958 to 1967, the Ithaca High School Band commissioned 24 works for band. Many of these works were published and have become part of the standard literature for the wind band medium. Composers commissioned by the band included Pulitzer Prize winners Leslie Bassett, Karel Husa, Robert Ward, Warren Benson, David Borden, Carlos Chavez, Barney Childs, Walter Hartley, Vincent Persichetti, Armand Russell, Gunther Schuller and Alec Wilder. Guest soloists and conductors appearing with Battisti’s Ithaca High School Band included Benny Goodman, Carl "Doc" Severinsen, Donald Sinta, Harvey Phillips, the New York Brass Quintet, Jimmy Burke, Vincent Persichetti, Norman Dello Joio, Thomas Beversdorf, Clyde Roller, Frederick Fennell, William D. Revelli and Walter Beeler.
In 1967, New England Conservatory President Gunther Schuller brought Battisti to Boston with the goal of creating a wind ensemble program on the model of the seminal work done by Frederick Fennell at the Eastman School of Music. During his time at NEC, Battisti cemented his reputation as one of the most respected champions of music for winds in America, and the NEC Wind Ensemble amassed a sizable portfolio of premiere performances and recordings.
In 1997, the John Philip Sousa Foundation selected Battisti's Ithaca High School Concert Band for their Historic Roll of Honor of High School Concert Bands. This Roll of Honor identifies high school concert bands whose musical excellence at the national level exerted historically significant influence on high school band programs. That same year, Battisti was the first recipient of NEC's Louis and Adrienne Krasner Teaching Excellence Award. In 2001, NEC hosted an international symposium, “Wind Music across the Century,” in Battisti's honor.
Battisti is past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and his articles on the wind ensemble, music education and wind literature have been published in a host of national and international journals. He is author of several books, including “The 20th Century American Wind Band/Ensemble,” and is co-author of the book “Guide to Score Study.”
He has conducted professional, university and school wind bands/ensembles throughout the world. As an international champion of wind music, Battisti founded the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in 1981, along with Timothy Reynish and William Johnson. This organization currently boasts more than 1,200 members, spanning more than 50 countries. The organization’s 14 international conferences have been hosted in Ireland, England, Spain, Singapore, Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
For more information about the tradition of excellence in music education and concert performance at The Crane School of Music, visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.