Director of Bands
Professor, Conducting and Ensembles
Coordinator, Conducting Program
Conductor, Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Mallory Thompson is the Director of Bands, Professor of Music, and Coordinator of the Conducting Program at Northwestern University. In 2003, she was named a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. As the third person in the university's history to hold the director of bands position, Thompson conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and administers all aspects of the band program. Released in December 2011, rising is her fourth album with the Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble on the Summit label.
Thompson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University, where she studied conducting with John P. Paynter and trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Donald Hunsberger.
Since 2003, Thompson has served as the artistic director of the Northshore Concert Band. She maintains an active schedule as guest conductor, conducting teacher, and guest lecturer throughout the United States and Canada. She has taught conducting to hundreds of undergraduate students, graduate students, and professional educators. Thompson has been a conductor or clinician at the College Band Directors National Association regional and national conventions, the Midwest Clinic, the Interlochen Arts Academy, numerous state music conventions, and the Aspen Music Festival. She has also appeared as guest conductor with the United States Air Force Band, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, the United States Army Field Band, the United States Coast Guard Band, the United States Navy Band, the West Point Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony, and Symphony Silicon Valley. Her professional affiliations include Pi Kappa Lambda, the Music Educators National Conference, the College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association.
Associate Director of Bands
Lecturer, Conducting and Ensembles
Conductor, Symphonic Band
Shawn Vondran is Associate Director of Bands and Conductor of the Northwestern University Symphonic Band. He teaches conducting, wind repertoire, and other courses in the music performance and education curricula. Prior to his appointment at Northwestern, he served as the assistant director of bands at Ball State University. Recognized for his excellence in teaching and dedication to students while at Ball State, Vondran received the College of Fine Arts Dean's Teaching Award in 2013. In addition, the Ball State University Symphony Band was selected to perform at the 2012 and 2014 Indiana Music Education Association Conference. Vondran also served on the faculties at Western Illinois University and Youngstown State University, respectively. He began his professional teaching career at Mentor High School in Ohio, where his concert, jazz, and marching bands consistently received superior ratings and accolades for their outstanding performances during his four-year tenure.
Vondran maintains an active schedule with engagements throughout the United States as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. In addition to performance engagements, he is an ongoing contributor to the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series published by GIA and has appeared in the National Band Association journal. During his career as a conductor, Vondran has worked with a number of notable composers in the preparation, performance, and recording of their works for the wind band medium. Recent artistic collaborations include John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, David Maslanka, Michael Daugherty, Steven Bryant, and Joel Puckett. His professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, and Pi Kappa Lambda.
Vondran received his doctor of musical arts degree in instrumental conducting with an emphasis in music education from the University of Miami in Florida. Vondran completed a master of music degree in instrumental conducting at Youngstown State University and earned magna cum laude honors with his bachelor of music education degree from the Ohio State University.
Director of Athletic Bands
Senior Lecturer, Conducting and Ensembles
Conductor, Concert Band & Jazz Band
Daniel J. Farris is the Director of Athletic Bands at Northwestern University, where he is responsible for conducting the “Wildcat” Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band and Basketball Band. He also teaches conducting, marching band techniques and secondary music education methods.
Prior to moving to Northwestern, Mr. Farris served as Assistant Director of Bands/Marching Band Director at Illinois State University in Normal, IL and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bands under his direction have performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Bands of America Regional and National Championships, the Dublin, Ireland St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the Alamo Bowl. He also served as Director/Consultant to the Walt Disney World Collegiate All-Star Band in Orlando, FL, and taught in the public schools of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Mr. Farris has been a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor in the United States and Canada. He holds degrees in Music Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of the National Band Association, College Band Directors National Association, International Association of Jazz Educators and is an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma/Kappa Kappa Psi.