The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance announces that Jason Fettig will join the faculty as director of bands and professor in the Department of Conducting in January 2024. Fettig is an internationally recognized conductor and highly sought-after educator and clinician who currently serves as the 28th director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra.
“Over its 126-year history, the University of Michigan Bands program has only had a handful of leaders, and each one has uniquely shaped and significantly advanced the program,” said David Gier, Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music and Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. “Professor Fettig possesses a remarkable depth and breadth of expertise, and I look forward to seeing him guide this program in new directions while honoring its legacy.”
As director of bands, Fettig will conduct the Symphony Band, teach graduate conducting students, and provide comprehensive administrative guidance for the entire university band program, including the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands. The director also sets the direction of the band curriculum, which shapes student educational opportunities and career pathways.
“I could not be more excited to come to the University of Michigan and the School of Music, Theater & Dance to lead this historic and exceptional band program into its next chapter,” said Fettig. “There are many parallels between this marvelous institution and the one from which I am coming; a clear reverence and pride for the tradition that was built before us, but also an incredible commitment to moving art forward in an inclusive and innovative music-making community. I am especially indebted to the amazing service of Professors Haithcock and Reynolds for their inimitable contributions to the bands at U-M, and I am deeply honored to be entrusted by Dean Gier and my new colleagues to continue to build upon that work for many years to come in this new era of opportunities for the school and its students.”
In his current role, Fettig serves as the music adviser to the White House and regularly conducts the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the Executive Mansion. He led the musical program for the inaugurations of President Donald Trump and President Joseph Biden and the state funeral of George H.W. Bush. He also serves as music director of Washington, DC’s historic Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band director since John Philip Sousa.
Fettig has conducted performances in forty-nine US states as well as Japan, the Czech Republic, Austria and the Netherlands. Live concerts conducted by him have been heard regularly on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and have been viewed on numerous national television broadcasts from the White House. He has worked with an artists from across the musical spectrum, from internationally renowned classical artists such as pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Joshua Bell, and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square; to Broadway luminaries Norm Lewis, Jessica Vosk, and Lea Salonga; to pop superstars including Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Lady Gaga.
Fettig has conducted featured performances at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the international conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the Texas Bandmasters Association convention, and the national conventions of the American Bandmasters Association and the Music Educators National Conference. He has led concerts at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Severance Hall in Cleveland, and Boston Symphony Hall, and he has twice partnered with the National Symphony Orchestra and their music director Gianandrea Noseda for special joint performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has also collaborated on numerous occasions with legendary composer and conductor John Williams, most recently sharing conducting with Maestro Williams of a gala concert of music at the Kennedy Center in July 2023. In May 2019, Fettig and the Marine Band, in partnership with the All-Star Orchestra conducted by Gerard Schwarz, won an Emmy at the 62nd Annual New York Emmy Awards for a program titled “New England Spirit.” Fettig also represented the Marine Corps at the White House when military bands were awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Trump in 2019.
Reflecting on this new chapter in his career, Fettig shared, “I cannot think of another major music school in our nation with a more committed, enthusiastic, and gifted student body, faculty, and staff. After my cherished time with the Marine Band, there is simply nowhere I would rather continue to serve than as a member of this wonderful team at SMTD.”
Fettig holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in clarinet performance and music education, and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2014, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He serves on the board of directors for several national organizations and is the president-elect of the National Band Association.
Ann Arbor audiences will have two opportunities to see Fettig before he officially assumes his role in January. On October 24, he will conduct the United States Marine Band concert and on November 17, he will be the guest conductor for the U-M Symphony Band. Both concerts take place at Hill Auditorium and are free and open to the public.
Photo credit: Timothy Devine