Events & Programs


Lifetime Achievement Award

2017 – Craig Kirchhoff

Craig Kirchhoff (b.1949) is Professor Emeritus of Conducting at the University of Minnesota. During his nearly fifty-year teaching career, Professor Kirchhoff has earned many distinctions for his teaching and conducting, including the Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and guest conducting positions for numerous All-State and honor groups internationally. 

Professor Kirchhoff is a past president of the College Band Directors National Association and is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Music Educators National Conference. He has also served as the founding editor and principal advisor of the College Band Directors National Association Journal.

Professor Kirchhoff has appeared as guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and Scandinavia. He is a frequent guest conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and has recorded with them on the Kosei Publishing label.

2017 – David Whitwell

Dr. David Whitwell (b. 1937) is Emeritus Faculty at the California State University at Northridge.  During his distinguished career as a performer and conductor, Whitwell has been guest professor at nearly 100 different universities and conservatories internationally, as well as published over 127 articles on wind literature, including his 13-volume History and Literature of the Wind Band and Wind Ensemble, which is considered a seminal source for wind band studies. 

He is a past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and was a member of the founding board of directors of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. In 1964 he was made an honorary life member of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. 

In September, 2001, he was a delegate to the UNESCO Conference on Global Music in Tokyo. He has been knighted by sovereign organizations in France, Portugal and Scotland and has been awarded the highest honor given wind conductors in the United States, the medal of the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts from the National Band Association. He is a member of the Hall of Fame of the California Music Educators Association.

2015 – Ray Cramer

Ray Cramer (b. 1940) is the Director of Bands Emeritus at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. During his 24-year career as Director of Bands, he conducted the Indiana University Wind Ensemble, which under his leadership earned an international reputation for outstanding musical performances, including a joint American Bandmasters Association/Japanese Bandmasters Association Convention performance in 1984, and a spring tour to Japan in 2000. He was president of the Midwest Clinic, president of the American Bandmasters Association, past president of the College Band Directors National Association and the Indiana Bandmasters Association.

Professor Cramer is a recipient of the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Award, the Kappa Kappa Psi Bohumil Makovsky Memorial Award, the Goldman award, and the 2005 Midwest Clinic Medal of Honor.

Professor Cramer is actively involved in clinics and guest conducting engagements nationally and internationally. He has served as regular guest conductor for the Musashino Academia of Music in Tokyo, Japan from the fall of 1990 to the present.

2015 – Donald Hunsberger

Donald Hunsberger (b. 1932) is conductor emeritus of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, having served as its music director from 1965 to 2002. Under his leadership, the Eastman Wind Ensemble continued its development as an leader for the recording and creation of numerous new works for the wind band, as demonstrated on numerous recordings on Sony Classics, CBS Masterworks, and Mercury Records. In 1987, Dr. Hunsberger’s scores and recording of ‘Carnaval’ (featuring Wynton Marsalis) with the Eastman Wind Ensemble were nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Solo Performance with Orchestra category.

Dr. Hunsberger’s research into the history and development of scoring for wind bands in America has made him the recipient of a number of awards, including the Homespun America: The National Association for State and Local Historians award, the Eastman Alumni Teaching Award and Herbert Eisenhart Award, the Florida State University Wiley Housewright Fellowship, the Crystal Award from the Asahi Broadcasting Company, Osaka, Japan, and the Ehud Eziel Award, Jerusalem, Israel.

He is a past president of the College Band Directors National Association and has served as a member of the boards of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductors Guild.

2014 – John P. Paynter

John P. Paynter (1928-1996) was the Director of Bands at Northwestern University from 1953-1996, the second of three people to hold that position since its creation. Professor Paynter served as president of the Midwest Clinic, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, American Bandmasters Association, and the National Band Association, of which he was a co-founder and Honorary Life President.

He was a Life Member of the Music Educators National Conference and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He was also revered as a composer and arranger with more than 400 works to his credit. He received awards from such distinguished societies as Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Eta Sigma, Tri-M Modern Music Masters, Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi, Illinois Music Educators, John Philip Sousa Foundation, the National Band Association, the School Musician, the Instrumentalist, and the National Association of Music Clubs.

In August 1987, he was selected as one of the inaugural recipients of the Northwestern University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award and on June 13, 1992, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from DePaul University in Chicago.

2014 – Frank L. Battisti

Dr. Frank L. Battisti (b. 1931) is Conductor Emeritus of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. He founded the ensemble and was their conductor for 30 years. Dr. Battisti has served as a past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and is a founder of the National Wind Ensemble Conference, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble and New England College Band Association.

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. His many awards include the Ithaca College Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the New England Conservatory Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Lowell Mason Award from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association, the American School Band Directors Association Edwin Franko Goldman Award, and the Midwest Clinic’s Medal of Honor.

Officially retired, Battisti maintains a very active guest conducting, teaching and writing career and has commissioned and conducted the premiere performances of works by Colgrass, Chavez, Persichetti, Bassett, Pinkham, Wilder, Benson, Tippett, Harbison, and Holloway.

2014 – James E. Croft

Dr. James Croft (1929-2012) was the Professor of Music Education and Director of Bands Emeritus at Florida State University.He taught in public schools for 21 years mainly in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and later served on the faculty of the University of South Florida (Tampa) before assuming his position at Florida State University. Dr. Croft has served as President of both the National Band Association and the College Band Directors National Association.

During his career, has appeared as a clinician, lecturer and guest conductor for a multitude of events and organizations, such as the National Music Camp (Interlochen), the Royal Academy of Music (London), the Royal Marine School of Music (Portsmouth), the Central Army Orchestra (Budapest), the World Association of Symphonic Band and Ensembles and the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic.In 2003, he received the Midwest Clinics Medal of Honor for contribution to the profession.

In 2005, the James E. Croft Grant for Young and Emerging Wind Band Composers was established by the band directors of the Atlantic Coast Conference to provide financial assistance to rising young composition students interested in composing for ensembles of wind and percussion instruments. This grant has continued in memory of his contributions to the profession.

2012 – H. Robert Reynolds

H. Robert Reynolds (b.1934) is Principal Conductor of the Wind Ensemble at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he holds the H. Robert Reynolds Professorship in Wind Conducting.This appointment followed his retirement after 26 years from the University of Michigan School of Music, where he served as the Henry F. Thurnau Professor of Music, Director of University of Bands, and Director of the Division of Instrumental Studies. In addition, he has also been conductor of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings for over 25 years.

Professor Reynolds is a past president of the College Band Directors’ National Association and the Big Ten Band Directors’ Association.He has received the highest national awards from Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, and the American School Band Directors Association, and has been awarded the Medal of Honor by the Midwest Clinic.

He is a member of the National Award Panel for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and in 2001 received a national award from this organization for his career long efforts to commission American repertory for the concert band and wind ensemble medium.