Jonathan Waters, Director
Jonathan Waters was named Director of The Ohio State University Marching and Athletics Bands in October 2011 after serving as Interim Director for the first half of the season. He held the post of Assistant Director since the 2002 season.
Jon received his Bachelors of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University in 2000. He was a member of the Marching Band from 1995-1999 and served as Graduate Assistant Director for the band during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. He has since received two Masters degrees in Music Education and Conducting from The Ohio State University School of Music.
Mr. Waters has written band shows for the OSU Marching Band, Spring Athletic Band, and a number of high school bands throughout the state. His other duties include teaching undergraduate conducting classes in the School of Music as well as conducting various concert ensembles.
A member of the OSUMB from 1995-1999, Chris received his bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Music Education . He joined the directing staff for 2000-2002 in his first stint as a Graduate Assistant, graduating with a Master’s in Instrumental Conducting and Music Education. Mr. Hoch returned to the OSUMB as a Graduate Assistant Director in 2009 and received his Ph.D. in Music Education in 2012.
In the interim Dr. Hoch served as the Director of Bands for the Delaware City Schools in Delaware, Ohio. As principle conductor of the Rutherford B. Hayes High School band program, Chris actively composed and wrote awarding winning works for the Delaware Schools band program. Dr. Hoch also serves as Artistic Director and Principle Conductor of the Scioto Valley Brass and Percussion Company.
Following a year as Interim Director, Professor Richard Blatti was named Director of The Ohio State University School of Music on July 1, 2011. He serves as chief executive and academic officer for an internationally recognized faculty and a School ranked 11th among public colleges and universities, after having taught for 37 years – 32 at the collegiate level with the last 22 at Ohio State. Prior to this appointment, he was Area Head of Conducting and Ensembles, supervising all aspects of the conducting curricula and the administration of all university ensembles. Throughout his OSU tenure, Professor Blatti has personally taught conducting at all levels and the ensembles under his direction have performed at national conferences, recorded for international recording labels, and have toured extensively.
For his interpretation of their works, Blatti has earned the praise of many composers, including Gunther Schuller, Warren Benson, Michael Daugherty, Augusta Read Thomas, Jennifer Higdon, Eric Whitacre, Steven Bryant, David Gillingham, Carter Pann, Frank Ticheli, John Mackey, Daniel Bukvich, and Roger Cichy. Professor Blatti has twice received The Ohio State University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2007 he was presented with the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching by the President of the University. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and on the Executive Board of the OSU Academy of Teaching.
As guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Blatti has been invited to 40 states, five Canadian provinces, and six other countries, including the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Australia, and China. Prior to his appointment at OSU, Professor Blatti was Director of Instrumental Music at Albion College in Michigan for ten years, where he was twice selected the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, and was awarded two grants in support of his research on rehearsal techniques and conducting pedagogy. Blatti also served as Director of Bands and Music Department Chair at York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.
A student of legendary conductor John Paynter, Blatti earned both the Bachelor of Music Education and the Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University and has done post-graduate work in conducting at Michigan State University. He serves as a Director of the John P. Paynter Foundation, as Conductor Laureate of the Heisey Wind Ensemble, and is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, CBDNA, MENC, OMEA, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Beta Mu, Omicron Delta Kappa, Tau Beta Sigma and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is in constant demand as a guest conductor, clinician, author, and lecturer.
Dr. Russel C. Mikkelson serves as Director of University Bands, Professor of Music Conducting) and Area Head of Conducting and Ensembles at The Ohio State University, where he conducts the Wind Symphony, chairs the graduate conducting program, and oversees all aspects of the university’s band program. Under his direction, the OSU Wind Symphony has performed at the 2003 College Band Directors National Association Convention, the 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011 Ohio Music Educators Association Conventions, and has recorded four CD’s: Southern Harmony (Naxos 2009), Winds of Nagual (Naxos, 2007), Jubilare! (Mark Records, 2003) and Sounds, Shapes and Symbols (Mark Records, 2000). In a 2010 review of the Southern Harmony recording, Fanfare magazine proclaims “The Ohio State musicians play their collective hearts out and conductor Mikkelson shapes the music with a loving hand, wringing every last drop of emotion out of the music. If this does not give you goose-bumps, nothing will.”
Director of the OSU Contemporary Music Festival and a staunch advocate for the creation of new works, Mikkelson also serves on the American Bandmasters Association Commissioning Committee and has instituted a program of regular commissioning projects for the OSU Bands. He has received praise from composers Leslie Bassett, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Corigliano, Michael Colgrass, Jennifer Higdon, Gunther Schuller, Lukas Foss, Augusta Read Thomas, Frank Ticheli and Michael Daugherty among others, for his musical realization of their compositions. Corigliano wrote, “Russel Mikkelson is a conductor who really understands my music, and that’s rare.”
Dr. Mikkelson is Past President of the Big Ten Band Directors Association, a member of the College Band Directors National Association, MENC, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Beta Mu, and is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association. An enthusiastic advocate of public school music education, Dr. Mikkelson has conducted All-State Bands, Festivals, and Honor Bands across the United States and internationally. He was the recipient of the 2005 Ohio State University School of Music Distinguished Scholar Award and has published articles in The Instrumentalist and The Journal of the Conductor’s Guild. As a composer/arranger, he is published through C. Alan and Daehn Publications.
Dr. Scott A. Jones is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Bands in the School of Music at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to conducting The OSU Symphonic Band, he also leads the undergraduate conducting curriculum. Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, Dr. Jones served as Director of Bands at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He also garnered 15 years of teaching experience in the public schools of Apple Valley, MN and Ashville, Ohio.
An ardent supporter of the “composers of today,” Dr. Jones has commissioned more than 30 new compositions for wind band and chamber winds in the past decade. Commissioned composers include David R. Gillingham, Augusta Read Thomas, Libby Larsen, Clark McAlister, Michael Weinstein, Adam Gorb, Daniel Kallman, Scott McAllister, Timothy Mahr, Rolf Rudin, Lowell Liebermann, Elliott Schwartz, Shelley Hanson, Johan de Meij, Brian Balmages, and Martin Ellerby.
A firm believer in creating opportunities for students to interact with great artists of our time, musicians under Jones’ leadership have collaborated with artists Frederick Fennell, Eiji Oue, Aaron Jay Kernis, Frank Battisti, Seiji Ozawa, David R. Gillingham, Augusta Read Thomas, Eddie Daniels, Frank Ticheli, Mark Camphouse, The Empire Brass Quintet, The American Brass Quintet and a host of other distinguished musical figures.
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Dr. Jones received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the Vander Cook College of Music (Chicago, IL), and a PhD in Music from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN).
Dr. Jones was named “Music Educator of the Year” by the Minnesota Music Educators Association, and was one of three school band conductors from the United States selected to participate in the National Band Association International Conducting Symposium in Rome, Italy. His guest engagements regularly include All-State Bands and Honor Bands, as well as international engagements throughout Asia.
His professional affiliations include The National Association for Music Education, Ohio Music Education Association, Wisconsin Music Educators Association,World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Iowa Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, and Phi Beta Mu.
A Chicago native, Mike began his teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools, where he was an itinerant band and orchestra director. During that time Mike was also an instructor with the Mount Prospect Imperials Drum and Bugle Corps. From there he moved to central Illinois, where he served as the junior high and high school band director for the Georgetown–Ridge Farm schools. In Mike’s five years at G–RF, his concert and marching bands were regularly recognized for their excellence. After moving to Colorado to complete his graduate studies, Mike began a long tenure as director of bands at Fort Collins High School, where he conducted the marching, symphonic and concert bands, three jazz ensembles, taught beginning guitar, music theory, and developed one of the first history of rock and roll classes in the nation. During his time at FCHS, Mike commissioned and premiered numerous new works for symphonic and jazz bands. Doctoral studies followed, which led to a faculty position at University of Northern Colorado, where he taught music theory, aural skills, arts education courses, and the history of rock and roll, as well as serving as the director of the UNC Bear Necessities Basketball Band.
As a performer and a conductor, Mike has experiences that cover the entire spectrum of music. He has played drums with saxophone legend Von Freeman, trombone great Fred Wesley, multi-instrumentalist/composer and co-founder of the jazz collective AACM Phil Cohran, modern trumpet master Hugh Ragin, as well as his own group, The Mike Smith Quartet. His concert percussion experiences include performances with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Collins Symphony, and the Fort Collins Wind Symphony. Mike has been a featured guest conductor with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has guest conducted junior high and high school honor bands in Illinois and Colorado. His performances in the world of soul music and rock and roll are too numerous to list. Mike has also been an adjudicator and clinician for jazz festivals in Colorado, Idaho, and Nebraska, as well as judging numerous concert and marching band contests and festivals.
Mike has presented lectures for the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Convention, the Colorado Music Educators Association Convention, and the University of Northern Colorado’s Center for Integrated Studies Annual Summer Institute, as well as workshops on arts integration for numerous school districts throughout the state of Colorado. Mike enjoys presenting workshops and lectures on American music history in general, jazz and American popular music in particular, as well as arts integration for non-arts educators.
Joshua Laux, native of Lakewood, Ohio, is in his second year as Graduate Assistant Director with The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education. Joshua was a 5-year member of the Marching Band from 2006 to 2010. He served as Head Squad Leader of M-Row in his final season. Joshua received his Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University in 2011.
Prior to his graduate assistantship, Joshua wrote field drills for the 2010 and 2011 Spring Game half-time shows, as well as drills for OSUMB half-time performances. In addition, Joshua has been the drill writer for Mendon Middle High School Marching Band in Mendon, Michigan for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
John Brennan a native of Columbus, Ohio is in his first season as a Graduate Assistant with the Ohio State University Marching Band. He graduated in 2009 from Ohio State with a Bachelors in Music Education and is currently pursing his Masters in Music Education. During his undergraduate career John was a 5 year member (2003-2007) of the Ohio State University Marching Band and was an Assistant Squad Leader his final season.
In addition to John’s Graduate Assistant position he has been a member of the Ohio State Marching Band Arranging Staff since 2010. He began arranging for the Athletic Band during his undergraduate career which included 4 spring game halftime shows. John still designs, and arranges for the Athletic Band in addition to his duties with the Ohio State University Marching Band.