MURRAY, Ky. — Dennis Johnson, Murray State University associate professor of music, has recently received the prestigious honor of being invited to present a conducting master- class session for the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) World Conference.
WASBE is a nonprofit international association open to all individuals, institutions and industries interested in symphonic wind bands and wind ensembles as serious and distinctive mediums of musical expression and cultural heritage. The nonprofit hosts a world conference every two years, alternating between the Americas, Asia and Europe. This year’s conference will be held in historic Utrecht, The Netherlands from July 18 to 22.
In order to be invited to the conference, ensembles must apply and then send recent recordings of their ensembles live and in concert. A conference committee selects and extends invitations to the bands, lecturers and clinicians. Johnson is the only clinician representing the United States, as the other clinicians are from Great Britain, Germany, Canada and Switzerland. His clinic will explore the many facts of conducting chamber wind ensembles and coaching young volunteer conductors through the process.
“I want the experience to mean something to the participants so that they can take back and share the items discussed with their compatriots. This is the reason I joined WASBE,” said Johnson. “I belong to three organizations here in the United States, and that is desirable; however, I have always wondered how people in other countries compose, perform and analyze music. WASBE gives me that new and exciting perspective, and that is what I hope to share with my young conducting participants.”
As a clinician, Johnson will join an elite group of colleagues who will share their musical expertise. Through the years, Johnson has served as secretary and president for WASBE. The end of the spring 2017 semester marks Johnson’s 31st year teaching at Murray State.
He remains grateful to both Murray State and WASBE for the opportunity to travel and share his passion for music.
“Murray State has continually supported my work in other countries and that has meant a great deal to me. Our diversified student body is emblematic of the University’s commitment to diversity and global learning. In music, there is a special bond that transcends any strife that we find throughout the world,” said Johnson. “In WASBE, the membership has a common bond of unity, friendship, ideas and understanding. When we are together, no matter in what country, we feel a sense of bonding through our art. Language is no barrier. What a conference like this provides is a door to a wider world of mankind — uniquely through music.”