On December 10 and 11, Frank Battisti, longtime conductor of the Ithaca High School Band and the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, will visit Ithaca College as guest conductor in two free concerts.
On Wednesday, December 10, Battisti will conduct the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble in the performance of selections by Michael Gandolfi and the Marches section of Morton Gould's West Point Symphony. Led by regular conductor Stephen Peterson, the wind ensemble will also play a serenade by Wilhelm Berger and the world premiere of The Three Colors by Ithaca-based composer Shawn Allison. The concert will start at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the Whalen Center.
On Thursday, December 11, at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall, Battisti will take part in "Wind Band Classics," a performance by the Ithaca College Symphonic and Concert Bands. Battisti will share the podium with the ensembles' regular conductors, Henry Neubert and Mark Fonder, as the groups perform music by Alfred Reed, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Peter Mennin, and Morton Gould.
An Ithaca native who graduated from Ithaca College in 1953, Battisti had a distinguished career as a band conductor, clinician, writer, technical theorist, and musical adjudicator for competitions. He took the helm of the Ithaca High School band after his graduation and brought it into national prominence, creating a model for band pedagogy that is the subject of his book, The Twentieth Century American Wind Band/Ensemble.
Battisti received a master's degree in music from the College in 1964 and, after a brief stint at Baldwin Wallace College, joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. He retired from that institution as conductor emeritus. He 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 many national and international journals. In 1981 Ithaca College awarded him an honorary doctor of music degree.