Jason Caslor

ASU School of Music announces new director of wind ensembles

By

Lynne MacDonald

Jason Caslor, associate professor and associate director of bands and orchestras in the ASU School of Music, will take the helm as director of ASU wind ensembles beginning fall 2019.

Caslor, an ASU alumnus, has served in his current position for four years, and previously worked five years as a faculty member at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and three years as conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in Canada.

“Regardless of what musical skills students come to ASU with, I am able to assist them because of my varied experience,” Caslor said. “Whether they are research driven or need assistance on the orchestral side, I am able to help tailor their journey through ASU.”

Caslor, a champion of new music, has commissioned or co-commissioned over 13 works since coming to ASU. His research in digitally mediated sound technology and learning opportunities is cutting edge and aligns with the university’s emphasis on access and inclusion. In collaboration with the music therapy area, Caslor partnered with United Sound, a school-based instrumental music club for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, to offer ASU students a unique teaching and research opportunity.

Internationally, Caslor's guest conducting engagements include the National Youth Band of Canada and Canadian provincial honor bands in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Recent national guest conducting appearances include Oregon State University, the South Dakota Intercollegiate Band and All-State Band, Washington and Lee University and the University of Nevada-Reno.

He has presented research at the 2018 International Society for Music Education’s Special Music Education and Music Therapy Commission in Salzburg, Austria; the Riksförbundet Unga Musikanter Wind Band Symposium in Sundsvall, Sweden; the International Society for Research and Promotion of Wind Music International Conference in Wadgassen, Germany; the Internet2 Global Summit; the Manitoba Provincial Music Education Conference; and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. 

“We are pleased to name Jason Caslor as the director of wind ensembles in the ASU School of Music after an international search,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “Dr. Caslor’s experience as a conductor, his research interests in improvisation and the use of technology to promote long distance collaborations and his research with United Sound align well with our school’s mission of preparing 21st-century musicians who will transform our society through music.”

Caslor completed his Doctor of Music in conducting at Arizona State University (2010), his Master of Music in conducting from the University of Manitoba (2004) and dual bachelor's degrees in music performance and music education from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada (2000). He first came to ASU after working with Professor Gary Hill, retiring director of bands, at a summer conducting workshop. Caslor attended ASU to study with Hill, but said he quickly learned that the ASU School of Music faculty are amazing performers and teachers, or as he calls them, “rock stars.”  

ASU’s wind band program includes the top-tier wind ensemble; wind symphony, the largest wind band on campus; and concert band, which is open to music majors and nonmajors.

Caslor said he is excited about the upcoming wind ensemble season, which will be performed in ASU Gammage and formally announced soon. Highlights for the fall semester include the first concert on Sept. 19 called “Souzapalooza” — a throwback to Gilmore, Fillmore and Souza bands with marches, overtures, guest soloists, flashy novelty pieces, some world premieres and faculty performing in a “Carnival of Venice” atmosphere. The second concert in October is a big night of band music called “It’s Just Band,” which will feature all three ASU bands, and the third concert will be shared with the Tempe Winds in November.

“One of my goals is to make sure there is a line of continuity between all three ensembles,” Caslor said. “Whether we are talking about our top players or our nonmajors, I want to make sure they are all part of the music community.”