Dr. John Birdwell
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Dr. John Cody Birdwell is Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Kentucky, where his duties include conducting the University of Kentucky Wind Symphony, directing graduate studies program in wind-band conducting, teaching graduate courses in instrumental conducting, history and literature, and supervising the administration of the comprehensive University of Kentucky Bands program in the School of Music. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky in 2004, Dr. Birdwell served as Director of Bands at Texas Tech University, Director of Bands at Utah State University, Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Illinois, and Director of Bands at Northern Michigan University. Dr. Birdwell also served as a high school band director for several years in the public schools of Denton, Texas.
Dr. Birdwell's ensembles have toured extensively throughout the United States, China, and Ireland, and the University of Kentucky Wind Symphony was a featured performing group at the 2013 National Convention of the College Band Directors National Association and at the 2017 National Convention of the American Bandmasters Association. Ensembles under Dr. Birdwell's direction have also performed at numerous CBDNA national and division Conferences and have also performed for the Kentucky Music Educators Association (twice), Texas Music Educators Convention, Texas Bandmaster's Association Convention, and the Utah Music Educators Association. In 2008 the UK Wind Symphony toured the People’s Republic of China and performed to capacity audiences in the cities of Suzhou, Yangzhou, Changzhou, and Beijing. Dr. Birdwell and the University of Kentucky Bands served as hosts for the 2017 National Convention of the American Bandmasters Association in Lexington. The University of Kentucky Wind Symphony also performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2019 and will return to perform for the Kentucky Music Educators Association in 2022.
Dr. Birdwell’s recent appearances as a guest conductor and clinician include performances with the University of Florida Wind Symphony, United States Army Field Band, University of Texas – El Paso, California Music Educators Association All-State Band, Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band, New Mexico Music Educators Association All-State Band, several conducting and lecture appearances at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and many state and regional Honor Bands throughout the United States and Canada. Birdwell has collaborated with and premiered works by a variety of celebrated artists, conductors, and composers including the Canadian Brass, the Boston Brass, Joe Alessi, Allen Vizutti, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Colgrass, Bob Mintzer, David Maslanka, Luis Serrano Alarcon, Tim Reynish, Frederick Fennell, Omar Thomas, Paul Dooley, Dan Welcher, Donald Grantham, John Mackey, Anthony Barfield, Mike Mower, and Adam Gorb, among others. Several compact discs, including the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble “Distilled in Kentucky – Premieres from the Bluegrass State”, and “GO! – The Music of Bob Mintzer”, along with the Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble “LIVE!" and “Diversions” have received acclaim from educators, conductors, and composers throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
An elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association, Birdwell holds degrees from The University of North Texas and West Texas A&M University. Dr. Birdwell previously served as President of the College Band Directors National Association Southern Division and holds memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, Kentucky Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu, Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Mu Alpha.