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Directors Circle

Jun 11, 2020

In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Colonel Timothy Holtan. Col. Holtan holds the distinction of being the first officer to command all three of the U.S. Army’s premier bands. Since retiring in 2017, he currently serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Maryland Winds. 


Topics include:

- Colonel Holtan shares lessons learned from his time in the Army Band 

- Differences between studying at the Army School of Music and a four-year university

- Selecting repertoire for diverse ensembles 

- Motivating musicians in your ensemble



Maryland Winds:



Colonel Timothy J. Holtan retired in 2017 as the senior military musician in the Department of Defense. Col. Holtan’s final command was as the 10th Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He holds the distinction of being the only officer to command all three of the Army’s premier bands, which include the U.S. Army Field Band and the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point. Col. Holtan received numerous military awards and honors during his 28½-year career, including the Army Distinguished Service Medal.

Col. Holtan is a graduate of Bismarck (ND) High School and is a former school music educator in Montana. A clinician for Conn-Selmer, Inc. and Artistic Director of the newly formed professional wind band The Maryland Winds, he is a strong advocate for music education, enjoys substitute teaching, and is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. Col. Holtan has presented concerts and clinics in all 50 states, Canada, Japan, the U.S. Virgin Islands and across Europe.

In 2000, Col. Holtan was selected for the Army’s “Training with Industry” program. He served as the Director of Operations and Associate Conductor of the Dallas Winds, while concurrently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of North Texas. Col. Holtan holds music education degrees from Montana State University and the University of Montana, and has pursued additional conducting studies with Elizabeth Green, H. Robert Reynolds, John Paynter, Larry Rachleff, Jerry Junkin and Eugene Corporon.

Col. Holtan’s ensembles have been seen on many nationally televised broadcasts and diverse stages such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, DAR Constitution Hall, Mormon Tabernacle, Myerson Symphony Center, and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, as well as for the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Under his leadership and after a 44-year absence, the West Point Band reestablished a partnership with the New York Philharmonic, which resulted in five Lincoln Center joint concert performances. Col. Holtan also led the West Point Band in the Emmy-nominated “Marina at West Point” PBS television production that has reached over 180 million viewers.

Col. Holtan has been honored as Alumnus of the Year by Bismarck State College and was inducted into the Bismarck High School Hall of Fame. Col. Holtan served for twelve years on the National Band Association Board of Directors and has received multiple Citations of Excellence. In 2011, he was the University of Montana’s School of Visual and Performing Arts “Odyssey of the Stars” honoree and was inducted into their Hall of Honor. Col. Holtan holds membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and serves on the Advisory Committee to the Midwest Clinic.