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Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, 1103 S. Sixth Street, Champaign
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
The University of Illinois, founded in 1867 as one of the country’s first Land Grant Colleges, was the first of its kind to establish a regimental band in 1868. The University’s band program during the early twentieth century became the model for all other collegiate bands across America. Serving as Illinois’ first band director (1908-1948), A. Austin Harding played a major role in the development of special educational and performance band clinics, and for his tireless work earned the reputation of being the dean of America’s school band movement. Mark Hindsley, as Illinois’ second band director (1948-1970), became the commander of orchestral transcription practice for bands with his arrangements of Rimsky Korsakov’s Sheherazade, Liszt’s Preludes, and Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, and his works remained the standards of America’s band repertoire for decades. Harry Begian was the captain of one of the country’s first collegiate band conducting internship programs at the University of Illinois (1970-1984) which helped better prepare future band conductors, and his efforts became a model for other band conducting programs. James F. Keene as Illinois' fourth band director between 1985 and 2008 founded Illinois' unique commissioning initiative which sought out new music compositions for wind ensembles that continue to influence American band performance. This exhibit explores the special historical legacies of Illinois’ first four band directors and their influence on America’s band directors that followed in their footsteps.