Candidate Chad Nicholson

Chad Nicholson portrait

University of Arizona
Director of Bands

Biographical Information

Chad Nicholson is the Director of Bands at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and leads the graduate program in wind conducting. He is the Chief Guest Conductor of the Beijing Wind Orchestra, China’s first professional wind ensemble. He has been an adjudicator for the All-Chinese Wind Band Contest and has conducted groups in Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. A new edition of his book, Great Music for Wind Band, has been translated into Mandarin and will be released in Asia later this year. Nicholson has worked as a clinician, conductor, and presenter at events around the world, including the Carnegie Hall Symphonic Series, the Taiwan Band Clinic, the Western International Band Clinic, the NAfME National In-Service, and The Midwest Clinic. Dr. Nicholson has been a member of the CBDNA North Central Division, the Eastern Division, and the Western Division. While in the Eastern Division, he served a four-year service as the Delaware State Chair. Nicholson’s ensembles have been selected for performances at both the Eastern Division and the Western/Northwestern Division Conferences.

Vision for the Future of CBDNA

The CBDNA, along with the broader wind band genre, must take assertive steps to facilitate a more effective connection with our society. Throughout my career, I have seen diminished participation in wind bands at schools around the country. While COVID has caused some recent setbacks, this issue has been developing for several years. Enthusiastic support for large ensemble music has waned, both at the public school and university levels. However, it seems that our art form has not sufficiently responded to this issue.

This organization has a proven track record of wind band advocacy. CBDNA has been a leader in the development of COVID mitigation plans for wind instruments. Unfortunately, as beginning band participation dwindles, high school and college bands now suffer. We must develop initiatives that generate a new understanding of wind band music in the minds of the public. This has been done successfully in previous generations. A broad contextual appreciation of the wind band genre continues to be critical to our future development.  First, we must create connections with diverse communities in creative ways by honoring traditions while exploring new formats. We must pursue opportunities for interactive experiences that can be appreciated by musicians and non-musicians alike. Our students and audiences must feel represented in our performances. Second, recruitment and retention of students will improve as we facilitate a unique and thoughtful musical context for our students and audiences. Third, uniting disparate disciplines in our teaching and outreach activities will support social, cultural, entrepreneurial, and artistic connections. Finally, these connections and innovations must inspire communities to advocate in support of music education and wind band performance at the public school, university, and professional levels.