Eric Rombach-Kendall is Professor of Music at the University of New Mexico, where he has served as Director of Bands since 1993. Prior to his appointment at UNM, Mr. Rombach-Kendall held conducting positions at Boston University and Carleton College and taught in the Washington State Public Schools for six years.
Mr. Rombach-Kendall's bands have received national acclaim through their performances at the College Band Directors National Association National and Southwest Division Conferences, the MENC National Conference, and the New Mexico Music Educators Conference. Mr. Rombach-Kendall is the conductor and co-producer of five recordings with the University of New Mexico Wind Symphony on Summit Records: Fandango, featuring Philip Smith, Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, and Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic, Illuminations, featuring Mr. Alessi, and Classic Solos for Winds, featuring woodwind faculty members at the University of New Mexico, Fascinating Ribbons with tubist Sam Pilafian and Tales of Imagination with UNM Horn Professor, JD Shaw.
An advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Rombach-Kendall has commissioned and premiered many works for wind ensemble and concert band. Works he has commissioned have been performed by such prestigious organizations as the New York Philharmonic on Live at Lincoln Center, and the United States Marine Band (The President's Own). He has been a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and Canada and has published articles in The Instrumentalist, New Mexico Musician, and Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. He currently serves as President of CBDNA.
Mr. Rombach-Kendall is an alumnus of the University of Michigan, where he studied conducting with H. Robert Reynolds and Larry Rachleff.
Chad Simons, Associate Director of Bands, is on leave for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Brandon Houghtalen has recently been appointed Visiting Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Bands at the University of New Mexico. His duties at UNM include directing the Spirit Marching Band, Soundpack, Symphonic Band, and teaching courses in music education.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. Houghtalen earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting degree at Arizona State University where he studied with Gary W. Hill. His responsibilities included conducting the Concert Band, assisting with undergraduate conducting classes, and serving as a project conductor with the Instrumental Ensembles. Additionally, he served on the staff of the Sun Devil Marching Band under the direction of James G. Hudson.
From 2007-2009, Dr. Houghtalen served in a similar capacity at the University of Colorado, where he studied with Allan McMurray. As part of his work with the Pendulum New Music Series, Houghtalen conducted the world premieres of compositions by Steven Snowden, Paul Hembree, Greg Simon, and others. He earned the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Tennessee where he studied conducting from Gary Sousa and Ed Powell, and horn with Calvin Smith.
From 2002-2007, Dr. Houghtalen served as a director of bands in the Fayette County (Georgia) public schools. During his tenure at McIntosh High School, the band grew in size from 135 students to 220 students performing in four concert bands, athletic bands, percussion ensemble, chamber ensembles, and winter guards. McIntosh ensembles performed locally, regionally, and nationally, receiving consistent praise and the highest ratings at adjudicated events. Elementary bands under his direction were equally successful, setting new standards in participation and achievement.
JD Shaw, Professor of Horn and Assistant Director of Bands, is known throughout the world as a founding member, music programmer and arranger for the Boston Brass and has also performed in the Rochester Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic and the Boston Pops.
Prof. Shaw received a Bachelor of Music from Wichita State University, where he studied with Dr. Nicholas E. Smith, and a Master of Music from the Eastman School of Music. where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate under the tutelage of horn pedagogue Verne Reynolds.
As an active performer and prolific arranger, Shaw has recorded over fifteen albums encompassing diverse musical styles from the classical, jazz, and Latin genres. His record labels include Loft Recordings, Mark Records, and Summit Records. A notable recent project featured the Boston Brass recording the “Stan Kenton Christmas Carols” with many well-known brass players, such as Scott Hartman, Jens Lindemann, Scott Thornburg, Jeff Nelsen, and Sam Pilafian.
Prof. Shaw has presented numerous clinics and workshops for music educators, as well as masterclasses for students of all ages and levels. In addition to his credentials as a horn performer and teacher, he is the Brass Program Director and Music Arranger for the Santa Clara Vanguard.
Susan Brake is the Administrative Assistant for the UNM Bands. She performs a broad range of tasks for the bands. She holds an MA degree in Modern European History from the University of Chicago. In her frequently limited free time, she is the bassoonist with the Signature Winds woodwind quintet, plays second bassoon with the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra and performs with and is secretary of the Bosque Bassoon Band.