It is important to, once in a while, step back and recognize how the wind ensemble has grown in popularity and has become the focus of serious composers of the last few decades. Today we will focus on Frank L. Battisti.
Mr. Battisti has been a driving force for the improvement of the wind band/ensemble. Even in his early appointment as director of bands at a Ithaca High School, he encouraged a more serious and artistic atmosphere in his rehearsals and performances. While there, Battisti began an extensive commissioning project, giving us works by Persichetti, Husa, and Gunther Schuller, among many others - 25 works in all. Later in his career, Mr. Battisti founded, and conducted the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble for 30 years, where he continued to uphold the wind band/ensemble as a serious musical entity.
Battisti literally "wrote the book" on the history of the wind band in his book, "The Winds of Change"; this is a must-read for anyone pursuing conducting or teaching.
He is still incredibly active today at the age of 80, in directing ensembles and leading conducting seminars.
Please see his NEC bio, which will provide more details on his life and career.