MICHAEL VOTTA, JR. has been hailed by critics as a conductor with the drive and ability to fully relay artistic thoughts and praised for his interpretations of definition, precision and most importantly, unmitigated joy. Ensembles under his direction have received critical acclaim in the United States, Europe, and Asia for their exceptional spirit, verve and precision, their sterling examples of innovative programming and the kind of artistry that is often thought to be the exclusive purview of top symphonic ensembles.
He currently serves as Director of Bands at the University of Maryland where he holds the rank of Professor. Under his leadership, the UM Wind Orchestra has been invited to perform at the international conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles as well as national and regional conferences of the College Band Directors National Association. UMWO has also performed with major artists such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, and the Imani Winds. UMWO has commissioned and premiered numerous works by composers such as Andre Previn, Steven Mackey, Alvin Singleton, and James Syler.
Votta has taught conducting seminars in the US and Israel and has guest conducted and lectured throughout the world with organizations including the Beijing Wind Orchestra, the Prague Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the National Arts Camp at Interlochen, the Midwest Clinic, and the Conductors Guild.
His performances have been heard in broadcasts throughout the US, on Austrian National Radio (RF), and Southwest German Television, and have been released internationally on the Primavera label. Numerous major composers including George Crumb, Christopher Rouse, Louis Andriessen, Karel Husa, Olly Wilson, Barbara Kolb, and Warren Benson have praised his performances of their works. His arrangements and editions for winds have been performed and recorded by university and professional wind ensembles in the US, Europe, and Japan. He is also the author and editor of books and articles on wind literature and conducting.
He is currently the President-Elect of the Eastern Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and the Big Ten Band Directors Association. He previously served as Editor of the CBDNA Journal, as a member of the Executive Board of the International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music (IGEB), and on the board of the Conductors Guild. Before his appointment at Maryland, Votta held conducting positions at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Ithaca College, the University of South Florida, Miami University (Ohio) and Hope College.
Votta holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting degree from the Eastman School of Music where he served as Assistant Conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and studied with Donald Hunsberger. A native of Michigan, Votta received his undergraduate training and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan, where he studied with H. Robert Reynolds.
As a clarinetist, Votta has performed as a soloist throughout the US and Europe. His solo and chamber music recordings are available on the Partridge and Albany labels.
Dr. Andrea E. Brown was appointed the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Maryland in 2018. In this position she conducts the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble and serves as the Director of Athletic Bands in which she leads the Mighty Sound of Maryland and all aspects of the athletic band program. Brown is formerly a member of the conducting faculty at the University of Michigan where she served as the assistant director of bands. In this position, she was the conductor of the Campus Bands and director of the Campus Band Chamber Ensembles, associate director of the Michigan Marching and Athletic Bands, director of the Men's Basketball Band, guest conductor with the Symphony Band and Concert Band, taught conducting, and was a faculty sponsor of a College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design Project team researching conducting pedagogy technology. Previously Brown was the director of orchestra and assistant director of bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta where she also led research in conducting pedagogy technology and was a member of the Oxford Program faculty. She is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in the US, Europe, and Asia.
Brown completed a DMA in instrumental conducting at UNC Greensboro where she was a student of John Locke and Kevin Geraldi. While at UNCG, she was named Outstanding Teaching Assistant and was both guest conductor and principal horn on UNCG Wind Ensemble's fireworks! and finish line! CDs released on the Equilibrium label. Brown has also had several rehearsal guides published in the popular GIA Publications series, "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band" and has presented at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Music For All Summer Symposium, the Yamaha Blserklasse in Schlitz, Germany, the International Computer Music Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia, and multiple times at the College Band Directors National Association National Conference.
A proponent of inclusion and equity issues in the music profession, Brown is a frequent guest speaker on these topics. She currently serves on the CBDNA Gender and Ethnic Minority Committee, and as a member of the recently formed Drum Corps International Womens In Step Committee. Brown is also the founder of Women Rising to the Podium - an online group of 2300 members supporting and celebrating women band directors. She also serves the chair of the Sigma Alpha Iota Womens Music Fraternity Graduate Conducting Grant. Brown currently serves as a brass consultant for Phantom Regiment and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. She has been on the brass and conducting instructional staff of the DCI World Champion Phantom Regiment since 2004. Other marching organizations with which she has instructed are the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, Carolina Crown, Kennesaw Mountain High School (GA), Father Ryan High School (TN), and McGavock High School (TN).
As a performer, Brown was a member of the AA Brass Quintet, which won the International Brass Quintet Competition hosted by Fred Mills at the University of Georgia. She performed with the horn sections of the Boston Brass All Stars Big Band, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Brown has studied brass performance and pedagogy with Abigail Pack, Jack Masarie, Freddy Martin, J.D. Shaw, Dottie Bennett, Randy Kohlenberg, Richard Steffen, and Ed Bach.
Originally from Milan, Tennessee, she is a graduate of Austin Peay State University where she was named "Outstanding Student in Music." Brown earned a master of music degree in horn performance and a master of music education degree with a cognate in instrumental conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to her position at Georgia Tech, Brown was the assistant director of bands at Austin Peay State University and taught public school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dallas, Texas. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and CBDNA. She was awarded the Rose of Honor as a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.