Meet the Band Festival Clinicians

American composer John Mackey

The Augustana Band Festival, Nov. 10-11, features the following professionals for two full days of ensemble and clinic work.

Meet our 2017 Clinicians


composer John MackeyJohn Mackey — Cambridge, Massachusetts

American composer John Mackey holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano and Donald Erb, respectively. Mackey has received commissions from the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Parsons Dance Company, the New York Youth Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Dallas Theater Center, New York City Ballet, the Dallas Wind Symphony, the American Bandmasters Association, and many universities, high schools, middle schools, and military bands. His trombone concerto, "Harvest," composed for New York Philharmonic principal trombonist Joseph Alessi, has received dozens of performances worldwide and been commercially recorded three times.

Mackey has served as composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival, the Vail Valley Music Festival, and with youth orchestras in Minneapolis and Seattle. He has received performances by the Dallas Symphony, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Bergen (Norway) Philharmonic, as well has thousands of middle school, high school, university, and military concert bands and wind ensembles. He is a two-time recipient of the ABA/Ostwald Prize, first for "Redline Tango" (his first wind band piece), and then for "Aurora Awakes" (which also received the NBA/Revelli Prize, making it one of only three pieces to ever win both prizes). The US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics performing to his score, "Damn."

Mackey was inducted into the American Bandmasters Association in 2013 and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Eric LapradeEric Michael Laprade — University of Utah

A dedicated and passionate conductor, educator, and arts leader, Eric M. Laprade is the interim Director of Wind Ensembles at the University of Utah. At Utah, Laprade conducts the wind ensemble and symphonic band, and teaches courses in conducting. Additionally, he serves as the Music Director of South Shore Conservatory's Summer Music Festival in Hingham, MA. Laprade has conducted many of the nations premier wind bands, including The Eastman Wind Ensemble, The United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own", and the University of Michigan Symphony Band.

Laprade is currently a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he is a Frederick Fennell Conducting Fellow, Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Fellow, and recipient of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. During his time in residence at Eastman, Laprade was assistant conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Harmonie, and associate conductor of the Eastman Wind Orchestra. He served as assistant conductor on international tours to Europe and Canada, and was assistant producer on multiple wind ensemble recording projects. Additionally, he taught undergraduate conducting and musicology, and served as a research assistant for the Institute for Music Leadership. While at Eastman, Laprade was a guest conductor for OSSIA New Music, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, and Sunset Concerts. He has been a clinician at schools throughout New England and was the conductor of the 2017 Massachusetts Music Educators Western District Concert Band.

Laprade holds a Master of Music degree in wind conducting from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Music degree in tuba performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music, where he was also the recipient of a Performer's Certificate. His principal conducting teachers include Mark Davis Scatterday, Michael Haithcock, and Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr. He holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, and is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society.


Dr. Christopher UngerChris Unger — Augustana University

Dr. Christopher Unger is the 5th conductor of the Augustana Band. He began his tenure at the University in September 2015.

Unger served as the Interim Director of Bands at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that appointment, he served as the Assistant Conductor of both the Eastman Wind Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. At Eastman, Unger was honoured with the Frederick Fennell Fellowship for Advanced Conducting Study, the Evan Whallon Conducting Award, and the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. His role at Eastman provided him with the opportunity to act as a producer on the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s 2013 release on Avie Records titled Stravinsky-Octet/L’Histoire du Soldat. In addition to conducting the wind ensembles, Unger worked with the Brass Guild, the Trumpet Ensemble, and the Graduate Chamber Orchestra. He also was chosen to conduct a featured performance of Imis, by Massimo Luaricella, the 2011/2012 OSSIA International Composition Competition winner, with the Ossia New Music Ensemble. 

Prior to his graduate studies, Unger was the Instrumental Music Teacher at G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, British Columbia. Under his baton, the instrumental ensembles at Vanier participated in regional and national festivals and received national recognition for their performances at Musicfest Canada. In his final year at Vanier, Unger was nominated for the CARAS/MUSICAN teacher of the year award. 

Unger won the American Prize in Conducting in the Wind Ensemble Division in 2013. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts, unique in scope and structure, providing awards, professional adjudication, and regional, national, and international recognition. Each year, The American Prize rewards the best recorded performances by individual artists and ensembles in the United States. 

Unger’s principal conducting teachers were Dr. Mark Scatterday and Dr. Colleen Richardson. He has attended a number of influential conducting symposiums where he worked with master wind conductors such as Donald Hunsberger, Frank Battisti, Charles Peltz, Michael Haithcock, Allan McMurray, Craig Kirchhoff, Michael Votta, Gary Hill, and Rodney Winther. He maintains professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductor’s Guild. 

Unger received his D.M.A in conducting from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. Additionally, he holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the University of British Columbia.


Dr. Larry PetersenDr. Larry Petersen — Augustana University

Dr. Larry Petersen is assistant director of bands and music education at Augustana University. Petersen directs the Blue & Gold Band and the Athletic Bands, as well as leads the coordination of the Augustana music teacher education program. He joined AU in the fall of 2017.

Petersen served as director of bands at Huron High School in Huron, South Dakota. During his tenure there, he built a large and successful program with the philosophy that music is a vehicle for preparing students for musical achievement and individual success in their lives.

Petersen earned his bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University where he majored in music education. He holds a master's of music degree in conducting from the University of Manitoba, and a doctor of musical arts in conducting from the University of Iowa. He is the current president of the South Dakota Bandmasters Association and the South Dakota Chapter of Phi Beta Mu (international bandmasters fraternity). Dr. Petersen was named Huron High School’s Teacher of the Year both in 2000 and 2008. His research interests include the use of technology for assessment within music ensembles, vocal transcriptions for winds, and music for voice and winds.