Conductor Highlight: Robert Austin Boudreau
Robert Austin Boudreau is a singular figure in the world of professional conductors. He is the founder and conductor of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble which travels to various cities within the US and abroad on a barge which serves as a floating stage. Typically, the barge ("Point and Counterpoint II") will float up to a suitable river bed in a city and perform its concert for that town's residents, as well as the ensemble's followers. The ensemble itself is comprised primarily of young professionals or graduate students, and is re-auditioned every summer. Having founded this unique and versatile wind ensemble is enough to secure Boudreau's importance in the wind world, but his outstanding contribution to the repertoire through his ensemble's commissioning project, which has given birth to over 400 new works for the wind orchestra, is what sets him aside as an incredible force for this type of ensemble within the last 53 years.
The UMD Wind Orchestra has performed many of he ensembles commissions, most recently Carlos Surinach's Paeans and Dances of Heathen Iberia, and Colin McPhee's Concerto for Wind Orchestra. Some of our more seasoned members and alumni might also remember that during the SOM's search for a new director of wind activities (now Dr. Votta), Maestro Boudreau served for a time as interim director. Interestingly, Dr. Votta himself is an alumnus of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.