LAWRENCE DALE HARPER is Professor Emeritus of Music of Carroll University, where he enjoyed a 31-year career as conductor of the University Wind Symphony and the Youth Wind Orchestra of Wisconsin. From 1986-97, he was the Music Director and Conductor of the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band and has been the conductor of one of the few professional wind ensembles in the world, the Wisconsin Wind Orchestra, since its founding in 1995. He has brought these ensembles to local and regional prominence through innovative programming, CD releases, international touring, commissioning and premiering new works, performing at major concert halls and conferences, and hosting internationally recognized composers and conductors. In a review of the Wisconsin Wind Orchestra’s CD, “Old Wine in New Bottles,” The American Record Guide said, “Listening to these readings of excellent wind band literature is a lovely listening experience,” and called the conductor “a stickler for detail, a motivator, and a first-rate musician who brings nuance and insight to a piece of music.”
Harper has served as a clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States, as well as in Central America, Europe, and the Middle East. He was an invited speaker and guest conductor at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Eastman Wind Ensemble where he presented his research on the West Point Military Academy Band Commissions of 1952 and guest conducted the West Point Military Band. He has twice appeared as conductor at the famed Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, in concerts and radio broadcasts both with his own Wisconsin Wind Orchestra and with the Holland Wind Players, one of Europe’s leading professional wind ensembles. He has also served as a guest teacher of conducting at several universities around the world—from the University of Wisconsin to the University of Péc, Hungary, and the National Institute of Music of Costa Rica. He has appeared in concert with other distinguished college and university wind ensembles such as those at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst and California State University—Northridge, and in the summer of 2016 appeared as guest conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica.
Dr. Harper is a long-time member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), and served as the chair of the Professional Band Network for CBDNA. His national reputation has led to appearances as guest conductor and panelist at CBDNA regional and national conventions at Northwestern University, University of Colorado, and the University of Texas, as well as at the international conference of the WASBE in Jonkoping, Sweden. Along with Maestro Filippo Salemmi of Italy, Harper founded and leads the International Music Project, which facilitates ongoing joint cultural/musical projects between American and Italian musicians, students, and conductors.
Harper is the recipient of the Carroll University Benjamin F. Richardson Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Educational Innovation. He was also chosen by his peers as the inaugural speaker for the faculty lecture series at Carroll University and was also an invited speaker at the "Artists Training Artists" Conference at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point. He is a contributor to the series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, published by GIA.