Gordon Henderson
Professor; Department Vice Chair, Conducting Music Performance

Director of Bands

Office: 2411
office: (310) 825-3835

GORDON HENDERSON is the Director of Bands and Department of Music Vice Chair at UCLA. Professor Henderson directs the 250-member Bruin Marching Band, the Symphonic Band and the Varsity Band.  Under Professor Henderson’s direction, the Bruin Marching Band has appeared at five Rose Bowls, three Sun Bowls, three Las Vegas Bowls, three San Francisco Bay Area bowls, two Cotton Bowls, the Aloha Bowl, the Freedom Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Cactus Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl. In 1993, the UCLA Bruin Marching Band received the prestigious Sudler Trophy, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to recognize excellence and innovation.

Recent international trips by the Band have included the Hong Kong International New Year Night Parade in 2006 and 2008, the Ekitopia Festival Parade in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 and 2018, and the 2016 Taoyuan International Band Festival in Taiwan. The Band opened for The Rolling Stones at Staples Center in 2013 with Henderson’s arrangement of “Satisfaction,” and appeared on TV in the premiere episode of The Amazing Race, Season 24, in 2014, The Goldbergs in 2015, and twice on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016.

Since 1990, Henderson has served as the Arranger for the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band in Nagoya, Japan, the ten-time All-Japan National Champions, and he has worked with several championship winning bands in Thailand. Henderson served as Head Horn Instructor or Brass Arranger for three Drum Corps International Champions: the Santa Clara (CA) Vanguard in 1989 and 1999, and the 1992 Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois.  He has also instructed other drum and bugle corps including The Cadets from Allentown, PA, the Troopers from Casper, WY, Pacific Crest from Diamond Bar, CA, the Academy from Tempe, AZ, and the Colts, from Dubuque, IA. In July and August of 2009, Henderson served as an adjudicator at the World Music Contest held in Kerkrade, Netherlands, where he judged over 80 bands, drum corps and concert percussion ensembles from 14 countries spanning four continents, and in July, 2013 he was invited to return to Kerkrade to judge the World Music Contest a second time. Henderson judged at the Kuala Lumpur International Marching Band Championship in December 2009, where bands from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia performed. In 2012 and 2013, he judged the Thailand Royal Cups Concert and Marching Band Championships in Bangkok.

From 1989 to 1995, Professor Henderson directed the Jazz Ensemble I, performing with numerous guest artists including Roy Hargrove, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Burrell, Conte Candoli, Matt Catingub, Bill Watrous, Steve Houghton, Snooky Young, Gerald Wilson and Paquito D’Rivera. Under his direction, both the Jazz Ensemble I and the Jazz Combo won their respective divisions at the 1995 Reno International Jazz Festival.

Professor Henderson was an Assistant Director and Drill Designer for the 736-member Olympic All-American College Marching Band that performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.  He has composed and/or arranged band music for several major motion pictures including In the Line of Fire, Little Nikita, Fatal Instinct, Legends of the Fall, Road Trip, First Daughter, Don’t Say A Word, Click and Struck by Lightning. Henderson wrote a marching band arrangement of “Pressure” by the English rock group Muse that will be included as an alternate version of the song in the Super Deluxe edition of the group’s album Simulation Theory, to be released in November 2018.

Gordon Henderson: UCLA's solid gold music man
Who can blame Gordon Henderson for tooting his own horn? As director of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, he’s hit quite a few high notes in his 25-year tenure. Performing
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