The Conductor and Founder of WWO
LAWRENCE DALE HARPER is Professor Emeritus of Music at Carroll University where he enjoyed a 30-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, commissioning and premiering new works, performing at major concert halls and conferences throughout the state, and hosting internationally recognized composers and conductors.
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 Orchestra of Costa Rica.
Dr. Harper’s 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 World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles 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.