World Projects Faculty Member

Dennis J. Zeisler

Distinguished music educator and wind band director, Dennis J. Zeisler passed away on March 30, 2020 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 73.

Zeisler was on faculty at Old Dominion University for nearly 40 years and served as chairman of the Music Department at ODU for 15 years. He was instrumental in developing new degree programs and hiring several faculty members. He also served as director of bands and professor of clarinet and saxophone. Under his direction, the ODU Wind Ensemble became a premier performing ensemble. It has recorded for TRN Music Publishers and Frank Erickson Publications and performed in concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Professor Zeisler received a B.M., B.M.E., and M.M. from the University of Michigan, where he was solo clarinetist of the Symphony Band, under the direction of Dr. William D. Revelli. He was solo clarinetist of the Detroit Concert Band, under the direction of Dr. Leonard B. Smith, and clarinet soloist with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. Mr. Zeisler had his New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in May 1974 and has performed at three International Clarinet Society Conferences. He was on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, where he was principal clarinetist of the faculty orchestra, conductor of faculty and staff ensembles, and on the international conducting staff.

In 1998, Professor Zeisler was awarded membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and served as 77th President of the ABA. In 1999, he received the Orpheus Award from Phi Mu Alpha for significant and lasting contributions to the cause of Music in America and the Virginia Music Educator of the Year Award from the Virginia Music Educators Association. In 2004 he received the National Band Association Mentor Award, and in 2009 was awarded a University Professorship at Old Dominion University for excellence in teaching. Zeisler sat on the board of the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and on the Board of Directors of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation and the Midwest Clinic.

He was founder and conductor of the Virginia Wind Symphony, a professional wind group comprised primarily of music educators from throughout the area of southeastern Virginia. The Virginia Wind Symphony has recorded six commercial compact discs and been featured in concert at two American Bandmasters Association Conventions (2004, 2011) and Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinics (2004, 2012).

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