The formal organization of the Oregon Symphonic Band (OSB) took place in Portland, Oregon in September 1986. The vision of the six founding members was to create not only a performance medium for adults to make music, but also to set high standards for musical excellence. The ensemble has averaged sixty members since its first season. OSB has performed at numerous schools in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area, as well as during music conventions and conferences. It has performed at such prestigious events as the Northwest division NAfME Conference, the All-Northwest NAfME Conference, the Western International Band Clinic, the American Bandmasters Convention, and the Midwest Clinic. In December 2007 OSB was awarded the Sudler Silver Scroll by the John Philip Sousa Foundation, recognizing OSB as one of the truly outstanding community bands in the nation.
Michael Burch-Pesses, Conductor
Dr. Burch-Pesses has been the Conductor and Musical Director of the award-winning Oregon Symphonic Band, Oregon’s premier adult band, since 1998. Under his direction the band has performed at state and regional music conferences, the Western International Band Clinic, the American Bandmasters Association convention, and the prestigious Midwest Clinic. In 2007 the John Philip Sousa Foundation awarded the band the Sudler Silver Scroll, recognizing them as one of the outstanding community bands in the nation. He is the author of “Canadian Band Music: A Qualitative Guide to Canadian Composers and Their Works for Band,” and is a regular contributor to the “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” series.
Since 1995 he has served as Director of Bands at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band, and teaches courses in conducting and music education. He holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Since coming to Pacific University he has received two awards for excellence in teaching, and in 2017 Pacific University named him a Distinguished University Professor. In 2018 the Oregon Music Educators Association gave him the John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award, the highest award Oregon bestows on a music educator.
He enjoyed a distinguished career as a bandmaster in the United States Navy before coming to Oregon. During his Navy career he served as Leader of the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland, Assistant Leader of the Navy Band in Washington, DC, and Director of the Commodores, the Navy’s official jazz ensemble.
His professional affiliations include the American Bandmasters Association, National Band Association, Association of Concert Bands, Northwest Band Directors Association, Oregon Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education. He is Past President of the Oregon Band Directors Association, and a founding member of the Oregon chapter of Phi Beta Mu.