Former Cassville music director publishes book

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last year, John Knight, Oberlin College music education and conducting professor and former Cassville R-IV School District music program director, published his first book, "The Interpretive Wind Band Conductor," through Meredith Music.

"Dr. Knight has produced a book that all conductors need to read," said composer conductor W. Frances McBeth. "It is a comprehensive book that quotes many professionals.

"He has made a lifelong study of conducting the winds and has written an impressive book," said McBeth. "It is an excellent treatise that can be of value to us all."

Knight's first book is designed to help conductors improve their musical interpretation. The book includes in-depth analysis of six concert band pieces and tips for conducting irregular and non-metrical contemporary wind music.

"This book is a must-read for any band director," James Rohner, Instrumentalist Magazine editor wrote in a review that was published in the magazine in November of 2007. "Knight's expertise and enjoyment of conducting are apparent on every page, and this book will leave conductors refreshed and eager to step on the podium with a different perspective on leading their students."

Meredith Music has also accepted Knight's book, "The Golden Age of Conductors," for publication. His second book focuses on the history of orchestral conducting in America and gives an analysis of interpretations by Toscanini, Koussevitsky, Stokowski, Szell, Reiner and other early 20th century conductors.

"I thought that personal observations by players in the ensemble might be helpful to young conductors and that is why I included the insights of Oberlin's Michael Debost, professor of flute, and James DeSano, professor of trombone, two distinguished musicians who have played professionally under many of the greats," said Knight.

"The Golden Age of Conductors" also includes personal interviews with Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt and Richard Hickox.

In addition to completing two books, Knight conducts concerts and educates students across the United States and other countries.

Last year, Knight conducted wind ensembles in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. He taught music education and conducting classes at the Shanghai Conservatory, Shenyang Conservatory, Central Conservatory in Beijing and Forren School of Music in Beijing.

During the sabbatical, Knight also conducted the Enri International School Wind Bands and attended the Japanese Band Directors NEMU Band Convention in Hammamatsu, Japan.

Knight has been a part of the Oberlin Conservatory for 31 years and has served as consulting editor for the Instrumentalist Magazine for the last 20 years.

Knight also serves as resident conductor of Ludwig Music Company and conducts The Cleveland Symphonic Winds and the Ludwig Orchestra, which includes professional musicians in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

In May, Knight served as guest conductor and clinician at the Lake Erie Music Festival of Bands at Cleveland State University.

Knight, who served as Cassville's music director from 1969 to 1977, currently serves as conductor of the Oberlin College Community Winds.

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