The first American to conduct the People’s Liberation Army

The first American to conduct the People’s Liberation Army


norman lebrecht

November 29, 2020

Gregg Hanson, who died ths weekend aged 77, was professor of conducting and director of wind bands for 26 years at the University of Arizona.

He achieved widespread renown as far afield as China, where he is believed to have been the firswt American to conduct a public concert with the Peoples Liberation Army Band.



  • J Barcelo says:

    So very sorry to hear this. Fine musician, and very thoughtful man…not just a “band director”. I went to many concerts of his in Tucson – he always put on a good show. He hated that people look down on bands. One his best writings contains this excerpt:

    “Historically, the band/wind medium has served more duality of purpose than perhaps any other means of music-making. We herald kings and football games (not to be confused with each other) and are capable of, and often held responsible for, the openings of freeways, shopping centers, and the inauguration of presidents of all kinds. In other words, we are exceedingly functional and mobile. We are worthy and needed in these efforts. Events of these kinds are “just not the same” without the band. Ask any school principal or community leader in our country.

    So why is it that when it comes to curriculum priorities and budget cuts we are being seriously considered for the proverbial ax?”

    RIP, maestro. You and the late Jack Lee will always be remembered by Wildcats. Bear Down!