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KNOXVILLE — Dr. Gary D. Sousa, University of Tennessee band director, has been has been selected for membership in the American Bandmasters Association.

The organization recognizes the nation’s top band conductors as chosen by their peers. Less than 600 bandmasters have been elected to the group since its establishment in 1929.

Dr. Gary D. Sousa

Dr. Gary D. Sousa

“UT is very proud that Dr. Gary Sousa has been elected to the American Bandmasters Association,” Dr. Wayne Bailey, director of UT’s School of Music, said. “This is the highest honor awarded a wind band conductor in our country.

“The award is recognition by the nation’s leading band directors that Dr. Sousa is a conductor of the highest musicianship and a leader in his field.”

Dr. W J Julian, former UT band director who served as American Bandmasters Association president in 1990, said Sousa was highly commended by his peers.

“Dr. Sousa is a most deserving member,” Julian said. “Past presidents vote on candidates to the ABA, and he was elected unanimously.”

Sousa teaches courses in conducting and repertoire, directs the master’s program in wind conducting, and oversees the entire band program.

His UT ensembles have received critical acclaim, including the UT Wind Ensemble’s selection to premiere a newly commissioned work, “Vortex,” by American composer Dana Wilson, at the February 2000 College Band Directors National Association Conference.

Sousa received the bachelor’s in music education from the University of Rhode Island. He received both his master’s and doctorate from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He was band director at Sam Houston State University and associate band director at Baylor University before coming to UT in 1997.