Dec '23 Guest Conductor- CAPT Brian O. Walden
Captain Brian O. Walden, U.S. Navy (Ret.) recently completed 2021/2022 as Visiting Assistant Professor/Interim Director of Bands at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia where he has remained this year to teach as an Adjunct Instructor in music education. He returned to the Hampton Roads area after serving as Associate Professor, Director of Bands & Instrumental Studies and Interim Director of Music Education at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama from 2018 - 2021. He previously served as the Director of Bands and Director of Music Education at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia from 2015 - 2018 where he was also the Coordinator of the Graduate Conducting Program. He has conducted international recording artists live and for television performances with Jason Mraz, James Taylor, Colbie Caillat, Take 6, Phillip Phillips (American Idol winner), Isaac Slade of the rock band “The Fray,” Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Branford Marsalis (former Director of The Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno), TV and Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris, and performed with Natalie Cole as well as many other artists. He has conducted ensembles and performed as a trumpet instrumentalist on every continent except Antarctica. Brian holds a BA in Music/Religious Studies (Double Major) from Saint Leo University, Florida, a MM in Wind Ensemble Conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied in the DMA Music Education program at Boston University and PhD program in Music Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2012 he was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award by the Alumni Council of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston for his career contributions to the field of wind band conducting. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon retirement from active duty serving as the Commanding Officer/Conductor of the United States Navy Band Washington, DC (White House Support Unit) as the senior musician in the Department of Defense, Captain Walden was awarded the distinguished Legion of Merit by President Barack H. Obama for his 35 years of service to the nation. Additionally, in 2019 President Donald J. Trump awarded the National Medal of Arts, “the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government.” Brian has performed on trumpet and as Guest Conductor with the Alabama Winds and is currently the Conductor/Music Director of the Virginia Wind Symphony and serves with the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia as Conductor of the Bay Youth Wind Symphony. Captain Walden is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association, the highest honor for Bandmasters in North America. Captain Walden is married to Staci Harris Walden, whom he met as a blind date for her high school senior prom. They have been married for 37 years and have two sons. Brian and Staci love sailing at their home on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and spending time with their grandson, Maverick.