A native of Takarazuka, Japan, Nobuyoshi Yasuda’s musical studies began on the violin at the age of three. He holds a Bachelor ofMusic degree from Soai University in Japan and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. Mr. Yasuda has been an active violin soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Japan. His interest in conducting was sparked by his desire to find new ways to share his passion for music with people.
Mr. Yasuda was appointed as Orchestra Director at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1991, Music Director of the Chippewa Valley Symphony in 1993, and Associate Conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival in 1999. His performance of Milhaud’s Creation du mond at the festival was broadcast on National Public Radio, Performance Today in July 2001. He guest conducted the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. With the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, he has participated in the educational outreach project, Arts Across Minnesota granted by the Minnesota State Arts Board, to have residency in a high school; he led ‘side by side rehearsal’ and gave a concert. Mr. Yasuda made his international conducting debut in Germany with Das Philharmonie Orchester des NDR-Hannover in May, 2003. And in March 2004, he made his Japanese debut with the Osaka Philharmonic.
Russel C. Mikkelson is in his eighteenth year as Director of University Bands, Professor of Music (Conducting) and Area Head of Conducting and Ensembles at The Ohio State University, where he conducts the Wind Symphony, chairs the graduate conducting program, and oversees all aspects of the university’s band program. Under his direction, the OSU Wind Symphony has performed at the 2003 and 2015 College Band Directors National Association Conventions, the 2014 CBDNA North Central Conference, the 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2013 Ohio Music Educators Association Conventions, and has recorded six CD’s: Network (Naxos 2016), Rest (Naxos 2012), Southern Harmony (Naxos 2009), Winds of Nagual (Naxos, 2007), Jubilare! (Mark Records, 2003) and Sounds, Shapes and Symbols (Mark Records, 2000). In a 2010 review of the Southern Harmony recording, Fanfare magazine proclaims “The Ohio State musicians play their collective hearts out and conductor Mikkelson shapes the music with a loving hand, wringing every last drop of emotion out of the music. If this does not give you goose-bumps, nothing will.”
A staunch advocate for the creation of new works, Mikkelson chairs the Big Ten Conference’s Commissioning Project, serves on the American Bandmasters Association Commissioning Committee, the New Works Committee for the College Band Directors National Association, and has instituted a program of regular commissioning projects for the Ohio State Bands. He has received praise from composers Leslie Bassett, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Corigliano, Michael Colgrass, Joseph Schwantner, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jennifer Higdon, Gunther Schuller, Lukas Foss, Augusta Read Thomas, Frank Ticheli, John Mackey, Steven Bryant, and Michael Daugherty among others, for his musical realization of their compositions. Corigliano wrote, “Russel Mikkelson is a conductor who really understands my music, and that’s rare.”
Dr. Mikkelson is Past President of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, Vice President of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), a member of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), NAfME, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Beta Mu, and an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association. An enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Dr. Mikkelson has conducted All-State Bands, Festivals, and Honor Bands across the United States and internationally. Additionally, he serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Heisey Wind Ensemble, a highly skilled community band based in Newark, Ohio. He is the recipient of both the Ohio State University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award (2015), and the Distinguished Scholar Award (2005). He has published articles in The Instrumentalist and The Journal of the Conductor’s Guild, and as a composer/arranger, he is published through C. Alan and Daehn Publications.
Marty Robinson, Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, directs the jazz ensembles and teaches jazz history in addition to applied trumpet students. He holds degrees from Lawrence University (B.M. in trumpet performance), the Eastman School of Music (M.M. in jazz studies), and Florida State University (D.M. in composition). Prior to his appointment at Oshkosh for the fall of 2004, Dr. Robinson served for 10 years as Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” in 2001. Dr. Robinson’s interests cover the broad spectrum of music as a performer, composer, musicologist, and educator.
He is widely regarded throughout the Midwest as equally a jazz and classical trumpeter, both as a soloist and in chamber music settings. He maintains a busy schedule that includes orchestral performances, jazz gigs, brass quintet recitals, big band concerts, touring musical shows, and chamber music performances. He has also released a jazz trumpet CD, “Standards – Vol. 1,” and is active as a jazz pianist and clinician.
He is the composer and trumpeter on numerous recordings that have been aired on national television and radio, including music for HBO’s The Sopranos, ABC’s 20/20, Fox’s NFL Films, PBS’s National Geographic, and CBS’s U.S. Open Tennis Coverage, as well as national campaigns for NBC’s ER, Hershey’s Chocolate, ADT Security, Gillette, and Burger King. His television music has been heard internationally in Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, among others.
An active and commissioned composer across musical genres, Robinson’s recent works have been performed by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, trumpeter Byron Stripling, and Miss America 2012. Other recent commissions in the contemporary classical realm include works for solo trumpet with organ, wind ensemble, saxophone quartet, a string bass concerto with orchestra, brass quintet, SATB choir, trumpet duet with piano, symphony orchestra, mixed wind chamber ensemble, and marimba.
Older major works include his Gloria for mass choir and brass quintet, Allegory of the Cave for wind ensemble, Children of Gebelawi for symphony orchestra, The Uncommon Path for wind ensemble, and a chamber piece for twelve players titled Five Rodin Sculptures. In addition, he has composed four brass quintets, a string quartet, and numerous other chamber works.
He currently arranges jazz ensemble music for trumpeter Byron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, and the UNC Jazz Press publishes some of his ninety jazz compositions and arrangements. His original jazz works have been written for trumpeter Claudio Roditi, saxophonist Gary Bartz, pianist Steve Kuhn, and guitarist Gene Bertoncini. His jazz shuffle, The Art of Lee, was premiered at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and he has had several other recent jazz commissions by high schools and professional big bands. His jazz music is played by both universities and high schools across the country.
Dr. Robinson’s interest in music history has led to scholarly research papers as diverse as Stravinsky and Meter in L’Histoire du Soldat, and Don Redman: The Beginnings of Jazz Arranging. He has also presented scholarly papers on the jazz trumpet solos of Thad Jones as well as Duke Ellington’s Shakespearian works. His expertise as a jazz historian and musicologist led to an appointment on the IAJE Resource Team of Advisors in the area of jazz transcriptions.
Dr. Robinson has been active as a clinician at high schools and universities throughout the Southeast (when living in Florida) and in the Midwest, often featured as guest artist with the ensembles. Since 2000, he has served on the faculty at the Birch Creek Summer Music Academy in Door County, Wisconsin. From 1997 through 2002, he served as a judge for the Great American Jazz Piano Competition held in Jacksonville, FL. He has also been quite active in state and national IAJE functions, including giving clinics, presenting papers, arranging, and performing as a trumpeter. His former students have performed professionally with Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Nancy Wilson, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Elvin Jones, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Charles Mingus Jazz Band, the Village Vanguard Band, and the Saturday Night Live Band.
Guy Forbes is recognized across the country as a gifted composer and conductor. Dr. Forbes joined the Millikin University School of Music faculty in 1995 as the Associate Conductor of Choirs where he conducts the Millikin Chamber Chorale, one of the top two auditioned university choirs. Created for the study and performance of standards from the choral cannon, the group has been widely acclaimed for its musicianship and musical sensitivity. As the founding director of the Chamber Chorale, Dr. Forbes has conducted nine performance tours across the Midwest, as well as choir tours in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Ontario Canada. The Chamber Chorale cut its first CD in 2006 – From the Heart – available through First Step Records.
In addition to his work with the Chamber Chorale, he also directs the Millikin Madrigal Singers and serves as one of the conductors of the Millikin Vespers program – a 50 year choral/orchestral event with an annual attendance of over 6000.
In 2005, Dr. Forbes began writing choral music and has quickly received critical acclaim for his work. His first composition, Ave Maria (SSAA), won first prize in the 2005 Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Contest. This work, recently reviewed in the Choral Journal (Sept 2008), was cited as being:
“a graceful blend of tradition and newness which will be satisfying to advanced high school, collegiate, and church choirs…a refreshing addition to the sacred repertoire [that is] likely to become a contemporary classic for women’s ensembles.”
His first SATB composition, O Nata Lux (SATB), won the 2006 Vanguard Voices Premieres Choral Composition Contest and has since been performed by university choirs across the country.
Since his debut as a composer, his compositions have been performed at numerous ACDA and MENC conferences. His setting of Cantate Domino (SSAA) was selected for performance by both the 2008 Wisconsin All-State Choir and the 2009 New Mexico All-State Choir. Currently Dr. Forbes has compositions published with Alliance Music Publications Inc., Hinshaw Music, Pavane Publishing, and Treble Clef Music Press.
Scott MacPherson is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities in the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. In addition to conducting the Kent State Chorale and Kent Chorus, Dr. MacPherson leads the graduate choral conducting program. MacPherson has consistently earned praise for the high standards of performance of choirs under his direction. His programming blends a variety of musical styles ranging from early music through new works commissioned especially for him and his ensembles. MacPherson is in demand as a guest conductor, choral clinician, and adjudicator, and has extensive orchestral conducting experience. His research of contemporary choral music and choral teaching techniques in Germany have resulted in guest conducting appearances with the award-winning Modus Novus Chor based in Cologne, the Vokalensemble Kölner Dom of the Cologne Cathedral, as well as the male vocal ensemble Arcanum Musicae in Dresden. His international reputation has also drawn acclaim in Taiwan, where he conducted collegiate choirs and led workshops in conducting, choral eurhythmics, and choral pedagogy at conferences in Pingtung City and Taipei.
From 1993-2008, MacPherson served as the Director of Choral Activities at Trinity University in San Antonio, where he led his choirs on tours of Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. His Trinity Choir had the distinction of performing at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 2003 and the inaugural convention of the National Collegiate Choral Association in 2006. Before moving to San Antonio he served on the choral faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music where he was a colleague of the late Robert Fountain. In addition to conducting the UW-Madison Chamber Singers, Madrigal Singers, and Early Music Ensemble, MacPherson taught graduate choral literature seminars and advanced choral conducting.
In addition to his collegiate work, MacPherson is the founding Artistic Director of two choral groups of distinction—the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble and the San Antonio Chamber Choir. IVE, formed 12 years ago, is a professional-grade community choir of 65 singers that performs each summer in Madison, WI. The Choir performed at the North Central American Choral Directors Association Conference in February 2012. IVE released its first commercial CD recording, The Choral Music of Andrew Rindfleisch, on the Clarion label in 2006. An Isthmus Christmas, a live CD recording, was released in 2011. In September 2005 the 24-voice professional San Antonio Chamber Choir made its debut under MacPherson’s leadership. Now in its ninth season, SACC performances have consistently received critical acclaim. The Choir recently performed at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Dallas, Texas. Their live CD recording, Spanish & Mexican Cathedral Music, was released in 2010. In October 2012 SACC recorded a CD of composer Andrew Rindfleisch’s most recent choral works for release early next year.
MacPherson was nominated and chosen as a finalist for the Best and Brightest award sponsored by the University Roundtable Organization in San Antonio. He was nominated based on his “outstanding leadership and achievement as Artistic (and Founding) Director of the San Antonio Chamber Choir.