NE Wind Conductor’s Workshop


New England Wind Conductor’s Workshop


Eastern Connecticut State University


October 18-19, 2019





The New England Wind Conductor’s Workshop at Eastern Connecticut State University is a new workshop focusing on the art of conducting, effective rehearsal technique, repertoire selection, and refining musical skills. Designed with music educators in mind, this year’s workshop will be held in the new state-of-the-art Fine Arts Instructional Center at ECSU and led by Dr. Robert J. Ambrose, Director of Bands at Georgia State University and Kelly Watkins, Director of the Eastern Concert Band at Eastern Connecticut State University.

There are two tracks available, Navy Blue or Burgundy. The Navy Blue track (limit of 10) will conduct in three live ensemble sessions while the Burgundy track (limit of 10) will conduct in one live ensemble session. Both tracks will receive feedback and coaching from faculty and partake in engaging lectures and discussions. While there are no audition requirements, it is recommended that participants have some conducting experience.




Navy Blue track = $175

Burgundy track = $100

Payment must be received no later than October 1, 2019.

Checks can be made out to “ECSU Instrumental Music”

Please send checks to:

Eastern Music Program 
c/o Kelly Watkins
Performing Arts Department
Fine Arts Instructional Center
83 Windham St. 
Willimantic, CT 06226




Air for Band  -  Frank Erickson
Courtly Airs and Dances – Ron Nelson (Mvts I Intrada, IV Saltarello, & VI Allemande)
First Suite in E Flat  -  Gustav Holst/Colin Matthews (any movements)
Lux Aurumque  -  Eric Whitacre
Three Ayres from Gloucester – Hugh M. Stuart (any movements)





5:30pm    Introductions/Meet and Greet/Goals for the Course
5:45         Technique/Movement Session I
6:45         Conducting Session I (small ensemble excerpts)
8:45         Break
9:00         Lecture I
9:45         Wrap Up
10:00       End for Evening


8:00am    Technique/Movement Session II
9:00         Robert J. Ambrose rehearsal observation
9:30         Conducting Session II (full ensemble)
11:30       Morning Wrap-Up
12:00pm  Lunch
1:15         Lecture II
2:00         Conducting Session III (full ensemble)
4:00         Break
4:15         Lecture III
5:00         Wrap Up/Closing
5:30         End
6:00         Dinner at Local Establishment (optional but strongly encouraged)




Conductor Robert J. Ambrose enjoys a diverse career as a dynamic and engaging musician. His musical interests cross many genres and can be seen in the wide range of professional activities he pursues. Ambrose studied formally at Boston College, Boston University, and Northwestern University, where he received the Doctor of Music degree in conducting.

Ambrose has conducted professionally across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. His interpretations have earned the enthusiastic praise of many leading composers including Pulitzer Prize winners Leslie Bassett, Michael Colgrass, and John Harbison. He has conducted more than three dozen premiere performances including works by Jean Sibelius, Michael Colgrass, Jonathan Newman, Joel Puckett, Christopher Theofanidis, and Joseph Turrin.

In 2016, Dr. Ambrose was invited to spend ten days on tour as a guest conductor with the United States Army Field Band. Ambrose is the only civilian in history to be invited to guest conduct a premiere American military band on tour. This engagement led to the formation of the National Chamber Winds, a professional wind dectet based in Washington, D.C. comprising musicians from several of the premiere military bands and for which he is the Founder and Music Director. Ambrose is also the Founder and Music Director of the Atlanta Chamber Winds. Their premiere compact disc, Music from Paris was released on the Albany Records label and received outstanding reviews in both Fanfare Magazine and Gramophone Magazine.

Dr. Ambrose is the Founder and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble (MAYWE), a highly-select high school honor ensemble consisting of musicians from throughout the Atlanta area. During his nine-year tenure as Music Director, nearly 1000 high school students participated in the MAYWE program and the ensemble was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall on two occasions.

Dr. Ambrose has developed strong professional ties to the Finnish music community. He is frequently engaged in that country as a guest conductor, teacher, master clinician, and lecturer. Recent guest conducting appearances in Finland include the Finnish Navy Band, the Helsinki Police Band, the STM Summer Music Festival Wind Orchestra, the Rauma Wind Band, and the youth wind bands of Kokkola, Kotka, and Rauma. He has taught conducting workshops in Tampere, Rauma, Kuopio, and Kokkola, and has served as guest lecturer at the Central Ostrobothnian Conservatory in Kokkola and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He is also the Artistic Advisor to the Rauma Youth Wind Band. At home, Ambrose has hosted dozens of Finnish musicians in Atlanta including several composers, conductors, and a Finnish Fulbright scholar. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of Governors for the Scandinavian American Foundation of Georgia.

Ambrose currently serves as Director of Bands, Professor of Music, and Director of Recruitmentat Georgia State University, a research institution of over 53,000 students located in Atlanta, Georgia. As Director of Bands he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, leads the graduate wind conducting program, and oversees a large, comprehensive band program.


Conductor, educator, and trumpet player Kelly Watkins hails from the great state of Texas. A member of the United States Coast Guard Band since 2003, Kelly also serves on the faculty at Eastern Connecticut State University where she directs the Eastern Concert Band and has taught conducting, Brass Ensemble, and Wind Ensemble. Guest conducting engagements include ensembles at Central Connecticut State University, Gustavus Adolphus College (MN), Appalachian State University (NC), the University of Delaware, and several United States Coast Guard Band and Chamber Players performances, as well as regional and district honor ensembles in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

From 2013-2016 Kelly served as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band in New York City. In this post she led an ensemble of 100+ musicians of varying musical abilities in concerts and outreach initiatives across Manhattan, including collaborations with Randy Graff (Les Miserables), Liz Callaway (Tony nominee) and Carol Jantsch (Philadelphia Orchestra).

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Master of Music degree from Illinois State University, with additional studies in Arts Administration at Boston University. She has served as President and Executive Director of the International Women’s Brass Conference, and currently serves on the Board of Directors.



For more information please contact:

Kelly Watkins  –