Conductor, WSU Symphony Orchestra; Director of Bands
Washington State University
Danh Pham is Conductor of the WSU Symphony Orchestra, and Director of Bands at Washington State University. In addition to directing the WSU Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, he conducts the WSU Opera and Musical Theatre, and teaches Instrumental Conducting and Symphonic Literature courses.
Dr. Pham has appeared as a guest conductor and clinician for several international ensembles. He most recently served as conductor-in-residence at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music and Huazhong University in Central China where he taught master classes and conducted the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony in concert. He has also appeared with the Guang Xi Symphony Orchestra (Nanning, China) in the Gala Opening Concert for the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) New Music Week. Other international organizations include the National Ballet and Opera Orchestra in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Saigon Wind Ensemble, as part of a subscription series for the Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra that was hosted at the Ho Chi Minh Conservatory of Music, and the National Academy of Music in Northern Vietnam. At home, he has conducted professional and honor groups throughout the Pacific Northwest, American Southwest, Texas, and Hawaii, including the Kansas Music Educators Association Intercollegiate Band, and the Washington Music Educators Association Junior All-State Band. Future engagements include professional debuts with the Coeur D’Alene Symphony Orchestra, the Washington-Idaho Symphony, and the Hubei Symphony Orchestra (Central China). He has also conducted the Palouse Chamber Players, the Pan-Pacific Ensemble (Asia), and the Palouse Brass Ensemble. His own groups have appeared at the Western International Band Clinic, the MENC Biennial Northwest Conference, the Oregon Music Educators Association State Conference, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Southwest Convention.
Dr. Pham serves on the Collegiate Advisory Board for the Western International Band Clinic, where he has conducted their Intercollegiate Honor Band on three occasions. Dr. Pham serves as a contributing Research Associate for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series released by GIA Publications and has presented at the Washington Music Educators State Conference. He has also served as Producer and Editor for solo compact disc recordings that have been released by Albany and Emeritus Records.
Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, he received his degrees from DePauw University, Indiana University, and the University of Oklahoma. His conducting mentors include Ray Cramer, Stephen Pratt, and William Wakefield. Prior to his appointment at Washington State University, Dr. Pham held similar posts at McMurry University, Western Oregon University, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, and the Beaverton (OR) School District.
Helpful hints for "wind" conductors conducting a group with strings!
How many times have we heard conductors/teachers tell their students to "play more passionately", or to "bring out the music more"? In many of those situations, we are talking good fundamental, and wholehearted approaches to teaching students valuable music-‐making skills, which involve emotion and the act of emoting as a group within a programmed work. But as a pragmatist, I’m more interested on whether students can feel other things: feeling in tune, feeling in tone, and feeling successful.
Like for so many of us, there is a "lull" I hit during the year. It's a time when all things hit me hard on the calendar. It's difficult to get motivated to do anything. However, we must strive ahead for ourselves, and for our students. This is a discussion on some of the things we can do as conductors/teachers/musicians to keep ourselves sharp to be the best we can be for our programs!
Concert Band and Orchestra Directors are in a constant struggle to find the right repertoire for their ensembles. Whether it be your High School Wind Ensemble trying to qualify for state, or your “second” middle school band trying to play every note the composer intended in the Grade 1.5 march he/she wrote for your group of 19, we all have experienced the struggle of not having the right instruments for our desired concert repertoire. How does one overcome such struggles?