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Vu Nguyen ’00 is returning to familiar territory to become University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music’s next director of bands.

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Pacific News

Conservatory alumnus ready to strike up Pacific bands

Apr 13, 2020

Vu Nguyen ’00 is returning to familiar territory to become University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music’s next director of bands.

“I am elated for the opportunity to return home to the Pacific Conservatory community,” Nguyen said. “I look forward to being part of a diverse, inclusive and close-knit community committed to inspiring and educating the next generation of performers, scholars and music educators, as well as continuing the legacy and relevance of the Pacific band program well into the future.”

The San Francisco Bay Area native will succeed Eric Hammer ’73, the longtime director of bands and professor of music education who died unexpectedly in January 2019.

“Professor Nguyen is an exceptional addition to Pacific’s faculty,” said Peter Witte, dean of the conservatory. “He not only understands Pacific’s story, he’s living it. A first generation college graduate, a major in the U.S. Air Force, a gifted musician, conductor and educator, Professor Nguyen is a citizen-artist. He is uniquely positioned to lead Pacific’s storied band program onward.”

Nguyen returns to Pacific from University of Connecticut where he served as director of wind ensembles and conducting. He conducted the wind ensemble, taught graduate instrumental conducting and served as coordinator for woodwinds.

Prior to UConn, Nguyen served as the director of bands at the University of Indianapolis, was conductor of the wind ensemble at Washington University in St. Louis and a visiting conductor of the Indiana University Concert Band. Before that he started his teaching career in San Ramon public schools.

Ensembles he directs have performed at state music educator conferences throughout the country, including most recently the 2020 College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference. His research focuses on contemporary wind band literature, conducting education and the music of Frank Zappa.

Nguyen, who has conducted throughout the western United States and Japan, is an officer in the Air National Guard and serves as a guest conductor for U.S. Air Force Bands of the Golden West and Mid-America, as well as honor bands in Northern California, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. He is the commander and conductor of the Air National Guard’s Band of the West Coast, one of five such bands in the United States.

Nguyen earned a Bachelor of Music in music education from University of the Pacific, a Master of Music in conducting from the University of Oregon, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Washington. He is scheduled to begin at Pacific on Aug. 17.

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