Frank L. Battisti

Frank L. Battisti is Conductor Emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. He founded and conducted the ensemble for 30 years (1969-99). Today the NEC Wind Ensemble is recognized as one of the premiere ensembles of its kind in the United States and throughout the world. It’s performances on the Centaur and Albany recording labels have earned high critical praise and accolades. Performances by the NEC Wind Ensemble have been broadcast over National Public Radio (NPR) and other classical music radio stations throughout the United States and world . Battisti was Principal Guest Conductor of the Longy School of Music Chamber Winds, Cambridge, MA from 2000 – 2008 and founder and Music Director of the Tanglewood Institute’s Young Artists Wind Ensemble from 2000 - 2004. In 2005 he became the ensemble’s Conductor Emeritus.

Dr. Battisti is responsible for commissioning and premiering over 60 works for wind ensemble by distinguished American and world composers including Warren Benson, Leslie Bassett, Robert Ceely, John Harbison, Robin Holloway, Witold Lutoslawski, William Thomas McKinley, Vincent Persichetti, Michael Colgrass, Daniel Pinkham, Gunther Schuller, Robert Selig, Ivan Tcheripnin, Sir Michael Tippett, William Kraft, Robert Ward and Alec Wilder. Critics, composers and colleagues have praised Battisti for his commitment to contemporary music and his outstanding performances.

Battisti has served as conductor of numerous university, college, military, professional and high school bands/wind ensembles and as a visiting teacher/clinician throughout the United States, England, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Scandinavia, Australia, China, Taiwan, Canada, South America, South Korea, Iceland and the former U.S.S.R.

Past President of the U.S. College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), Battisti is also a member of the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) and founder of the National Wind Ensemble Conference, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble (MYWE) and New England College Band Association (NECBA). He has served on the Standard Award Panel of American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts Recognition and Talent Search Panel (ARTS).

Dr. Battisti is the author of seven books including Winds of Change and Winds of Change II, On Being a Conductor and The Best We Can Be, the story of his Ithaca (NY) High School Band, and is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on wind music literature. He has written many articles on wind ensemble/band literature, conducting and music education for national and international professional journals and magazines (The Instrumentalist, WASBE Journal, WINDS, MENC Music Journal, etc.). He served as editor for various music publishing companies and is currently a consulting editor for The Instrumentalist magazine.

In 1986 and 1993, Dr. Battisti was a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England. He has received many awards and honors including Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Ithaca College in 1992, Rhode Island College in 2010, New England Conservatory of Music in 2012; the Ithaca College Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, New England Conservatory Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2008; the first Louis and Adrienne Krasner Excellence in Teaching Award from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1997, the Lowell Mason Award from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association in 1998, the New England College Band Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, American School Band Directors Association Edwin Franko Goldman Award in 1989, Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic's Medal of Honor in 2001 and the National Band Association’s AWAPA in 2006.

Dr. Battisti was on the faculty of the Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music and conducted the Symphonic wind Ensemble from 1967 – 69.   He was also Director of Bands at Ithaca (NY) High School from 1955 – 67. Under his leadership the band established a reputation for being one of the best and most unique in the United States. Among its notable achievements was the commissioning and premiering of a series of 24 works by important American composers including Vincent Persichetti, Leslie Basset, Gunther Schuller, Karel Husa and Warren Benson.

Officially retired, Battisti maintains a very active guest conducting, teaching and writing career. He lives in Leverett, Massachusetts with Charlotte, his wife of over 58 years.