Professor Travis J. Cross, a conductor, composer and arranger, will become chair of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Music on July 1, 2018. Cross, who joined the UCLA faculty in 2013, will serve a three year-term. He succeeds Professor Neal Stulberg, who successfully led the Department of Music for four years, including helping to write the proposal that resulted in the formation of the school in 2016 as the first — and only — school of music in the University of California system.
A vice chair of the music department since 2014, Cross also served as associate dean for academic mentoring and opportunity during the inaugural years of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Cross currently conducts the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band and directs the graduate wind conducting program.
“Professor Cross’s achievements exemplify key areas within the Department of Music,” said Judith Smith, dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music. “He excels at conducting; he is a composer and arranger of band music; he taught in high school and now teaches in the department’s Music Education curriculum.”
Over the past five years, Cross has reinvigorated the UCLA Wind Ensemble, leading the band in invited performances at the California All-State Music Education Conference and College Band Directors National Association Western/Northwestern Division conference. In February, the UCLA Wind Ensemble participated in centenary performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Cross established the UCLA Wind Conducting Workshop, bringing dozens of music educators and conductors to campus for a week of training and professional development with leading teachers in the field each summer, and revived the UCLA Wind Ensemble Invitational, welcoming hundreds of high school band students from across the region to perform on the stage of Royce Hall.
“I look forward to serving the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in this role and anticipate building upon the achievements of my predecessors to sustain the Department of Music as a home for world-class composition, music education, performance and scholarship,” said Cross, professor and incoming music department chair. “I also hope to foster collaboration and connections between the acclaimed faculty and talented students in our department and the major cultural institutions, school music programs, and community arts organizations throughout California, as well as nationally and globally.”
Cross holds degrees from St. Olaf College (bachelor of music cum laude in vocal and instrumental music education) and Northwestern University (master and doctor of music in conducting), where he was named a Jacob K. Javits Fellow by the United States Department of Education. Prior to graduate study, he taught for four years at Edina (Minn.) High School, and after completing his doctoral coursework, he served as assistant professor of music and wind ensemble conductor at Virginia Tech for five years, where he led students in performances at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference, Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall.
His original compositions and arrangements are published by Boosey & Hawkes, Daehn Publications, and Theodore Music. He has appeared as a guest conductor, composer, and clinician in more than 30 states; Canada, China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates; and at the Midwest Clinic. Professor Cross is a Yamaha Master Educator.