Michael Burch-Pesses is the conductor and musical director of the Oregon Symphonic Band, Oregon's premier adult band. A former Navy bandmaster, he has conducted bands throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and is in wide demand as a guest conductor, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator. He first came to OSB as a guest conductor in 1998 and transitioned to our full time conductor in 2002.
Since 1995 he has served as Director of Bands at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Jazz Choir, and teaches courses in conducting, music education, and MIDI technology. During his tenure at Pacific University the instrumental program has more than doubled in size and continues to achieve ever higher levels of musical maturity.
Dr. Burch-Pesses enjoyed a distinguished career as a bandmaster in the United States Navy before arriving at Pacific University, enlisting as a horn player and working his way up through the ranks to become the Navy's senior bandmaster and Head of the Navy Music Program. During his Navy career he served as Leader of the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland. Under his direction the Naval Academy Band received the George Howard Citation of Musical Excellence from the John Philip Sousa Foundation, the highest civilian award for a military band. He also served as Assistant Leader of the Navy Band in Washington, DC, and Director of the Commodores, the Navy's official jazz ensemble. He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, the highest award ever given to a Navy bandmaster.
Dr. Burch-Pesses holds Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting from the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, and Oregon Band Directors Association. He also is the Oregon Chair of the National Band Association and Second Vice President-elect of the Oregon Music Educators Association.
Former OSB conductors are Dell Herreid (1987-1995), Bill Tuttle (1988-1994), and Dave Becker (1995-2005).