Brian Hughes, Conductor

Since moving to Iowa in 1983, Brian Hughes has maintained an active regional profile as a teacher, conductor, and author.  His education includes degrees from Olivet College and the University of Northern Iowa and he has completed the coursework for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As an educator, Hughes’s experience runs the gamut, with ten years in the public and parochial schools (grades 5-12) and 15 years as an Associate Professor of Music at Loras College (Dubuque).  Currently he serves as a 5-8 grade string music educator in the Dubuque Community Schools while maintaining an active schedule as a band, orchestra, and choral guest conductor and clinician.

As an author, his study in wind band repertoire has been published in The Instrumentalist.  He also maintains a professional blog—Score and Podium—and has written program notes for the Dubuque (IA) Symphony, the UW-Madison Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the Knoxville (TN) Symphony, and his ongoing 12-year association with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls (IA) Symphony.

A very active conductor both at home and abroad, he has conducted many honor bands and festivals, as well as appearances with ensembles ranging from the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, the U.S.A.F. Heartland of America Band, and the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble. An active supporter of community music, he was the first-ever Associate Conductor of the Bettendorf Park Band, and also founded the Tri-State Wind Symphony, a community-based ensemble that will celebrate its 19th season in summer 2013.  He has also served as a Graduate Assistant and Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leading the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and the University Band.

His orchestral experience began with an eight-year appointment as Conductor of the Dubuque Youth Symphony and Assistant Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.  He has also appeared many times with the Dubuque Community String Orchestra and his overseas travels have included guest-conducting appearances with orchestras in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Russia.

A proponent of new music, Hughes coordinated the reading/recording project at UW-Madison, and led UW-Madison ensembles in no fewer than four world premieres, including Alex Nohai-Seaman’s 50-minute Requiem for soprano and chamber orchestra.  Since 1998 he has led 15 first performances of works for wind band and orchestra, most recently in 2011 with the Quad City Wind Ensemble and the Tri-State Wind Symphony.

Garnering conducting prizes from two regional Czech orchestras, Hughes is a two-time winner of the Richard and Agatha Church Conducting Prize, presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In recognition of his “outstanding contribution to the arts,” he was presented the 2005 Elisha Darlin Award, given by the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society.  In his spare time, Hughes can be found in both the kitchen and his wine cellar, dreaming up the perfect pairing.