News Releases

Arnald Gabriel Will Guest Conduct Two Performances at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — Col. Arnald Gabriel — the first conductor emeritus of the U.S. Air Force Band and professor emeritus at George Mason University — will return to his Ithaca College alma mater in early December to take part in the annual guest conductorship named in his honor. As the 2010 Colonel Arnald Gabriel ’50 HDRMU ’89 Visiting Wind Conductor, Gabriel will join faculty conductors Stephen Peterson, Mark Fonder and Elizabeth Peterson in leading two free student ensemble performances in Ford Hall in the Whalen Center for Music. Both concerts will begin at 8:15 p.m.

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Gabriel and Stephen Peterson will conduct the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble performing the music of Dahl, Lorenz, Portnoy and Respighi.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, Mark Fonder and Elizabeth Peterson will join Gabriel in conducting the Ithaca College Concert and Symphonic Bands in performing music by Williams, Gandolfi, Jacob and Tchaikovsky.

In addition to his public appearances, Gabriel will rehearse each ensemble, give lectures in appropriate classes and meet individually with graduate students in wind conducting.

Established by an endowment gift by Gabriel in 2006, the Colonel Arnald Gabriel ’50 HDRMU ’89 Visiting Wind Conductor residency aims to bring an accomplished guest conductor from the wind field to the campus annually. Past guest conductors include John Whitsell, director of bands emeritus at Michigan State University; Paula Crider, retired director of bands at the University of Texas; and Anthony Maiello ’65 B.S., ’67 M.S., professor of music and director of instrumental studies at George Mason University.

“When I was conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band, I invited many outstanding conductors to appear at our guest artists series,” Gabriel said. “Among them were Arthur Fiedler, Elmer Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould and several leading university conductors. It gave the air force musicians a fresh and exciting experience. In addition to the outstanding band conductors at Ithaca College — Stephen Peterson, Mark Fonder, and Elizabeth Peterson — inviting other prominent conductors to the campus serves to give students a new and different perspective on the art of music making. As musicians, we are always striving to broaden our musical horizons. I hope the program will serve this purpose.”

The guest conductor residency reflects Gabriel’s lifelong dedication to wind music. A 1950 alumnus of the School of Music, he received an honorary doctorate from the college in 1989. Four years previously, he retired from the U.S. Air Force. During his 36-year career, he received three Legion of Merit awards for his service to the Air Force and music education. In addition to serving as commander/conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band, Gabriel also directed the Air Force’s symphony orchestra and the Singing Sergeants. (Gabriel’s military service also included a stint in the infantry during World War II, which earned him two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the French Croix de Guerre).

After retiring from the Air Force, Gabriel served on the faculty of Virginia’s George Mason University. His many civilian honors include the first Citation of Excellence awarded by the National Band Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s New Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award and its rarely presented National Citation for “significant contributions to music in America.”

Inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors, Gabriel has performed in all 50 of the United States and in 50 countries around the world. Among the major orchestras and bands he had conducted are the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; the Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Tatui Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestras; the Dallas Wind Symphony; and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. Most recently he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which pays tribute to the immigrant experience by honoring individuals from various ethnic backgrounds who have shown outstanding qualities in their personal and professional lives.

For more information, contact Molly O’Shea, marketing communications manager in the Ithaca College School of Music, at or (607) 274-3370.